On Tuesday, July 22, there was a Senate briefing on S. 2570, the Tribal Adoption Parity Act. The National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) is circulating a letter of support for the bill. This bill would ensure that families who adopt children designated as “special needs” in tribal court are eligible for the same flat adoption tax credit as families who adopt children who are designated as “special needs” in state courts.
Under current law, the adoptive parents of a child designated as special needs who is adopted through a tribal court cannot claim the flat special needs adoption credit and must document their qualified upfront expenses. Although tribes have the authority to arrange and sanction the adoptions of children who are members or eligible to be members of the tribe, current tax law does not recognize the authority of tribal courts to determine which of these adopted children are “special needs” for the purposes of the Adoption Tax Credit. In other words, a “special needs” determination provided by the tribe is not an acceptable document for the purposes of filing for the adoption tax credit as special needs. This creates a disparity in the tax law; taxpayers who adopt a child designated as special needs through a state can claim the benefit for children designated as special needs without documenting qualified expenses, while taxpayers who adopt a child designated as special needs through a tribe cannot.
NICWA is circulating a letter of support for sign-on. If you organization would like to sign-on, please send an e-mail to receive a copy of the letter for your review to Addie Smith at the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) at firstname.lastname@example.org by close of business next Monday, July 28.