IRS Releases 2013 Form 8839 (Qualified Adoption Expenses) and Instructions
The IRS has released the 2013 version of Form 8839 (Qualified Adoption Expenses), as well as updated instructions. Taxpayers use Form 8839 to claim the adoption credit, an exclusion for employer-provided adoption benefits, or both. There are several noteworthy changes to the 2013 form and instructions, as follows:
- The maximum adoption credit and exclusion amounts have been adjusted to reflect their 2013 values ($12,970 per eligible child). Both the credit and exclusion begin to be phased out for individuals with modified adjusted gross incomes greater than $194,580 and are phased out entirely for individuals with modified adjusted gross incomes of $234,580 or more. [EBIA Comment: The IRS recently announced the higher, inflation-adjusted amounts that apply for 2014 (see our article). Those will be incorporated into the 2014 version of Form 8839 and its instructions, which will not be issued until next year.]
- The 2013 form and instructions have been revised to reflect that taxpayers may have credit carryforwards from 2012 or over-limit credit amounts that can be carried forward to 2014. The instructions include new worksheets for both situations. (The adoption credit was refundable prior to 2012.)
- The 2013 instructions indicate that taxpayers using Form 8839 may now file their tax returns electronically. Previously, taxpayers filing Form 8839 had to file paper returns.
- The instructions acknowledge that—in the case of an unsuccessful or unfinished adoption—it is acceptable to leave blank any entries requesting information that the taxpayer is unable to provide about the eligible child (e.g., no identifying number is required if none has been obtained). The instructions now also remind married taxpayers who file separately that they may still be able to claim an adoption credit carryforward, so long as they filed a joint return in the year the qualified adoption expenses first became allowable for the credit if they were married in that year.