Greenberg & Greenberg
Same-Sex Couples Receive Special Adoption Tax Credit
Many times same-sex couples do not qualify for the tax breaks that opposite-sex married couples receive. In this case, the tables are reversed: same-sex couples are being offered a special tax benefit when adoption comes into play. When one adopts their partner's child, they are eligible to receive a tax credit known as the "second parent adoption". Same-sex taxpayers are then able to receive up to $12,650 from the government per child – this is only intended to cover certain expenses such as court fees, legal fees, and home study. Legal fees generally range anywhere from $1,500-$2,500 and home study typically runs around $1,200. The home study process is where people come to the couple's home to interview the prospective parents to examine the home and to see if they can provide a stable home for the child.
This tax benefit is a variation of the current tax break that is offered to straight couples. When an opposite-sex couple gets married and adopts a child together, they are able to claim certain tax credits. That would not be the case however if one spouse was to adopt the child of their spouse. As a result of the Defense of Marriage Act, same-sex couples are not recognized as being married according to IRS requirements. With this new tax credit, however, they can receive benefits if one partner adopts the child of their partner.
By not being officially married on a federal level, same-sex couples lose out on a lot of tax breaks, this new adoption tax credit helps them save some money in an area where straight couples cannot. Some same-sex couples are married on a state level, but do not have a valid union in the eyes of the federal government. By adopting their partner's child, they can then inherit legal parental rights in the eyes of the law. This way both partners are seen as parents and can make medical or legal decisions on behalf of the child. With same-sex couples, however, they are not permitted to file taxes jointly, so either one partner will have to claim all the credit or each partner can claim a small portion of it.
Not all states allow second parent adoptions but if the Defense of Marriage Act was to be overturned, then same-sex couples who are married at a state level could then be considered married on a federal level for tax purposes. If this was to happen, then same-sex couples would be permitted to file jointly and the adoption tax credit for second parent adoption would not be available to them. It is still unknown as to whether or not partners in civil unions or domestic partnerships will be eligible for the second parent adoption credit. We will have to wait and see how the federal government legally defines marriage in those instances.
If you are considering adopting your partner's child as your own, then the second parent adoption tax credit could be of great benefit for you. At Greenberg & Greenberg, we assist with same-sex couple adoptions, also known as cross adoption. We have been uniting families in New York and New Jersey for nearly 40 years now and we have assisted more than 6,000 families over our years of practice. We truly are a family-focused law firm and we have personal experience with the joys of adoption. If you are looking to begin your adoption journey, be sure to obtain an attorney who truly cares and is personally invested in making your adoption dreams a reality. Contact a New York adoption attorney from our firm today!