The Adoption Expense Tax Credit: Supporting Expanding Families

The journey to expanding a family through adoption can be both emotionally rewarding and financially demanding. Recognizing this, the Canadian government offers the Adoption Expense Tax Credit, designed to alleviate some of the financial burdens associated with the adoption process. This tax credit allows adoptive parents to claim a portion of their adoption-related expenses, providing significant tax relief during a critical period of family growth. Here’s what you need to know to take advantage of this supportive measure.

Eligibility Criteria:

To qualify for the Adoption Expense Tax Credit, you must have incurred eligible adoption expenses in the tax year for the adoption of a child under 18 years of age. The child must have been adopted by you and recognized by a provincial or territorial government in Canada.

Eligible Expenses:

The range of expenses that can be claimed is broad, including:

  • Adoption agency fees
  • Legal and administrative expenses related to the adoption
  • Court, legal, and registrar fees
  • Travel and accommodation expenses for the child and the adoptive parents
  • Document translation fees
  • Mandatory fees paid to a foreign institution
  • Expenses related to the mandatory adoption courses and home studies
  • Medical and hospital expenses of the child before the adoption, not covered by a health plan

Claiming the Credit:

Adoptive parents can claim up to $16,729 (for the 2020 tax year; this amount is adjusted annually for inflation) per child for eligible expenses. The credit is non-refundable, meaning it can reduce your tax owed to zero but won’t result in a refund. Expenses must be claimed in the year the adoption is finalized, but if the process spans multiple years, you can choose the year in which to claim the credit.

How to Claim:

  • Complete Schedule 1, Federal Tax: Enter the total of your eligible adoption expenses on Line 31300 of your tax return.
  • Documentation: Keep all receipts and records of your expenses. While these don’t need to be submitted with your tax return, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) may request them to verify your claim.

Important Considerations:

  • Both domestic and international adoptions qualify for the credit.
  • If two parents are adopting, the credit can be split between them, but the combined total cannot exceed the maximum limit for one child.
  • The tax credit is only available for expenses incurred during the adoption period as defined by the CRA.


The Adoption Expense Tax Credit offers vital financial support to adoptive families, helping to cover some of the considerable costs of adoption. By understanding and utilizing this tax credit, families can ease the financial aspect of their adoption journey, focusing more on the joy of welcoming a new member into their home. For more detailed information and updates on the credit amount, visit the CRA website or consult with a tax professional.

Now What?

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