With the 2019 tax-filing season underway, a critical issue for families filing for the Child Tax Credit using an Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number (ATIN) has been brought to our attention. As a result of tax law changes made in the 2017 tax reform law (known as the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” P.L. 115-97), now only a Social Security Number (SSN) is acceptable for claiming the Child Tax Credit. As a result, the Child Tax Credit cannot be claimed using an ATIN (or any other type of taxpayer identification number other than an SSN).

Specifically, under the new tax law, for tax years 2018-2025, in order to claim the enhanced Child Tax Credit (which was increased and made refundable in the tax law), a SSN is required and the SSN must be issued before the due date of the tax filing (April 15th, OR October 15th in the case of an extension). Because of this time requirement for when the SSN is issued, this precludes families from filing amended returns later after an SSN has been issued if it is after the due date of the tax filing.

As you know, adoptive families use the ATIN for tax purposes when an SSN is not available or has not been issued, and we know that adoptive families often wait for an adoption to be finalized to seek an SSN in order to apply based on a new birth certificate.

AAAA is engaging with its Washington, DC lobbyist to both raise awareness and seek options to address this issue.  Their understanding of the policy change is the SSN requirement was added to exclude persons filing with ITINs from claiming the enhanced Child Tax Credit and ATINs were inadvertently caught up in this.  There does not appear to be a specific policy reason for ATINs exclusion, as the same children would be eligible for an SSN.

If you are an adoptive family experiencing this issue, we (AAAA) wants to know. Real-life experiences help bolster AAAA’s case to raise awareness of this issue in Washington.

If you are at the end phase  of your adoption, be aware of this important development.