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Returning Member

Why can't I take my Adoption Carry Forward?

I am at a bit of a loss.....  I have $10K of adoption credit carry forward from 2019.    However, Turbo Tax is saying I do not qualify for this under the Adoption Credit area and that the amount would be carried forward again into 2021.   However, I have tax amounts due that would offset this.   Is this a mistake in Turbo Tax logic??

3 Replies
Expert Alumni

Why can't I take my Adoption Carry Forward?

The adoption tax benefits provide an incentive for individuals or families to adopt an eligible child. The 2020 maximum dollar amount per eligible child is $14,300. If your expenses were spread over multiple years, you might be able to spread the credit over multiple tax returns (see Who Qualifies and What Adoption Expenses Qualify below).


Included in the tax benefits is a nonrefundable tax credit. This is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in the amount of federal taxes owed (tax liability) for the year.


You won't get a refund if the tax credit is more than your total tax owed for the year. However:

  • Any credit in excess of your tax liability may be carried forward for up to five years.
  • There's an exclusion from income for an approved employer-provided adoption assistance program.

To claim the adoption tax credit in TurboTax:

  1. Open or continue your return if it isn't already open.
  2. Search for adoption credit and select the Jump to link.
  3. On the Did you pay any adoption expenses in 2020 or earlier? or the Credit for Adoption Expenses screen, read the information and, if you qualify, answer Yes.
  4. Continue answering questions until you're finished.

An eligible child is:

  • Any child under the age of 18. If the child turned 18 during the year, the child is an eligible child for the part of the year they were under 18.
  • Any disabled individual mentally or physically unable to take care of themselves.

Regarding the adoption tax credit, keep in mind:

  • If you've adopted the child of your spouse, you can't claim this credit.
  • The credit usually isn't available if you are Married Filing Separately.
  • Keep receipts for all qualified adoption expenses with your tax records.

Who qualifies for the credit?

What adoption expenses qualify for the credit?

Returning Member

Why can't I take my Adoption Carry Forward?

Thanks RayW7.   That was helpful....THANKS!

Employee Tax Expert

Why can't I take my Adoption Carry Forward?

Verify that you have a tax liability in 2020.   Preview your Form 1040 and look on line #24.  If that is a positive amount, then make sure you have the children listed as ''adopted'' in the dependent information section.  And finally go through the adoption credit screen again to ensure you have entered all of the information.  

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