Tuesday, February 28, 2006

It's a tax credit, not a rebate

I shot Andy and myself in the feet and didn't notice the blood trail until a year later.

When we adopted Kevin, we knew about the federal tax credit for adoptive parents to help recoup some (in our case) of the costs of adoption. I knew that the credit would cover our taxes for the year and we wouldn't have to pay any taxes so I decreased our withholding to increase the amount of cash we get each paycheck.

I completed our federal tax return this weekend and discovered that we don't get the whole tax credit at once - we carry over any remaining balance to the following year(s) after applying the credit amount to what we owe and what we overpaid through the year. That means that we only get back $2800 instead of the $10,000 we expected.

I was furious (and sad and depressed) when I discovered this and realized that they won't give us the credit until we've given them that much money but then I tried to rationalize it and see that it's based on our taxes, it's not just an outright payment.

The problem with the amount we're getting back is not that we don't appreciate that we're getting it, but that we were banking on $10,000 to put toward the fees for our next adoption. We had the cash for the fees during our first adoption but after that first adoption, we don't have any cash for the fees for our next adoption. Now we'll have to get creative.

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