After the 2012 election in early November, Congress returned to Washington to work out an economic plan. With the outcome of this session unknown, NCFA’s Government Relations team swarmed the Hill to advocate for the adoption tax credit, which is set to expire December 31, 2012.
The adoption tax credit grants a maximum credit of $12,650 to help families offset the high cost of adoption. Currently, there are bills pending in both houses of Congress for the Making Adoption Affordable Act (H.R. 4373 and S. 3616). This Act would make the adoption tax credit a permanent part of the tax code, one of the four priorities NCFA advocates for as members of the Save the Adoption Tax Credit Executive Committee. The three remaining priorities are that the credit remain inclusive, flat, and return to refundability. So what does that all mean?
- Inclusive: Families who adopt children through foster care, domestic infant adoption, or intercountry adoption are eligible for the tax credit.
- Permanent: If the tax credit becomes a permanent part of the tax code, families will be ensured continued support.
- Refundable: A refundable tax credit will ensure that families can receive the full credit at once regardless of tax liability. This is especially important for lower to middle income families who may have little to no tax liability.
- Flat for foster care adoption of special needs children: A flat tax credit allows families to claim the credit without documenting expenses.
If Congress does not act and the tax credit expires, it will be essentially unavailable to support permanency for kids who need it. We cannot let that happen! In an effort to ensure that the adoption tax credit remains on the table, NCFA met with the staff of Representatives and Senators to talk about the adoption tax credit. Most recently, our interns had meetings with their U.S. Representatives, educating them on the bill and the importance of the credit.
Jamel Rowe, our Legal Fellow met with Congressman Rob Wittman (R-VA 1) who represents Williamsburg, home of William and Mary, Jamel’s alma mater. The Congressman attended the meeting and the outcome felt very promising. Congressman Wittman, an adopted child and co-signer of the Making Adoption Affordable Act, understood the importance and need for the adoption tax credit. In the event that the Making Adoption Affordable Act is tabled until next year, he will support an extension of the tax credit so that families will get the help they require.
|Jamel Rowe at Congressman Rob Wittman's office |
Our Social Work intern, Jaclyn Newton, met with a staff member at the office of her Representative, Jim Moran (D-VA 8). Congressman Moran has always been a supporter of the Adoption tax credit and Jaclyn feels hopeful he will support the bill in the future.
|Jaclyn at Congressman Jim Moran's office |
Advocating on the Hill has been an educational experience for Jamel and Jaclyn and both agree they have learned a lot from the process. “Visiting the Hill has been a wonderful experience,” Jamel said. “I not only educated staffers on important adoption issues but also acquired a greater understanding of how the legislative process works. There is a lot more involved in the passage of a law than you see on C-SPAN.”Jaclyn shared similar sentiments saying, “Meeting on the adoption tax credit has really given me a new perspective on policy and how instrumental advocacy can be.” Jaclyn also shared, “All of our meetings have been very positive and almost everyone has expressed support for the adoption tax credit.” With that said, there are several outcomes we could see as the end of December quickly approaches:
- The Making Adoption Affordable Act passes as stand-alone legislation
- The provisions of the Making Adoption Affordable Act are rolled into a legislative package
- The adoption tax credit is extended, but not permanent
- The adoption tax credit expires
NCFA holds out hope that the Making Adoption Affordable Act will pass, but as Congress is primarily focused on the fiscal cliff discussions, an extension of the tax credit becomes an increasingly likely solution, as it has been in the past. Regardless of the potential outcome, NCFA will continue to advocate for the adoption tax credit and the provisions of the Making Adoption Affordable Act.
The NCFA team will continue to actively advocate, but we can’t do it alone. Your voice matters! Use your voice as supporters of adoption to contact your Members of Congress. Tell them why the credit is important to you and ask them to sign on as cosponsors of H.R. 4373 or S. 3616. In just a few minutes, you can contact your Representative or Senators via phone or email, schedule an in-person meeting, or submit an op-ed piece to your local newspaper. For more information about where to begin, check out NCFA’s Adoption Tax Credit Advocacy Kit.