What is an ATIN? An ATIN is an Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number issued by the Internal Revenue Service as a temporary taxpayer identification number for the child in a domestic adoption where the adoption taxpayers do not have and/or are unable to obtain the child's Social Security Number (SSN).

Who needs an ATIN? If you are in the process of adopting a child and are able to claim the child as your dependent or are able to claim a child care credit, you MAY need an ATIN for your adoptive child.

Why Do I need an ATIN? Tax law changes require that when you list a person's name on your federal income tax return, you must provide a valid identifying number for that person. During the adoption process, you may not have been able to obtain an existing or a new SSN for the child who may already have been placed in your home. If you are eligible to claim the child as your dependent, and you don't have the child's SSN, then you will need to request an ATIN in order to claim the child as a dependent and (if eligible) to claim the child care credit.

How do I know if I should apply for an ATIN? You should apply for an ATIN only if you are in the process of adopting a child and you meet ALL of the following qualifications:

1. The adoption is a domestic adoption.

2. The child is legally placed in your home for adoption by an authorized adoption agency/agent.

3. The adoption is not yet final, and you are unable to obtain the child's existing SSN or you are unable to apply for a new SSN for the child pending the finalization of the adoption.

4. You qualify to claim the child as a dependent.

I am not sure if I qualify to claim the dependency exemption or child and dependent care credit for the child I'm adopting, how can I find out? To know whether you qualify to claim the child's exemption or child care credit, see "Exemptions" and "Credit for Child and Dependent Care Expenses" in the Form 1040 instructions. For further information, you may order Publication 501 (Exemptions, Standard Deductions, and Filing Information) and Publication 503 (Child and Dependent Care Expenses) by calling 1-800-829-3676 or 1-800-TAX-Form. You may also download information on the Internet at: 

I now know that I meet the requirements to apply for an ATIN. What form do I use to apply for an ATIN? The Form W-7A, Application for Taxpayer Identification Number of Pending Adoptions, is used by qualifying taxpayers to obtain an ATIN.

What do I need to complete the Form W-7A? In general, you need to know the child's name, the birth information and the placement agency. This information is typically found in the placement documentation. In addition, this placement documentation must be attached to and submitted with the W-7A. The Form W-7A has more specific and detailed instructions. You may send the Form W-7A and the necessary documentation to the address listed below or it can dropped off at an IRS walk-in site. The walk-in site will mail the information for you. IRS Philadelphia Service Center ATIN Unit P.O. Box 447 Bensalem, PA 19020

What is placement documentation? Placement documentation is the signed documentation placing the child in your care for legal adoption. In general, one of the following documents will satisfy this requirement:

1. A placement agreement entered into between you and a public or private adoption agency.

2. A document signed by a hospital official authorizing the release of a newborn child to you for legal adoption.

3. A court order or other court document ordering or approving the placement of a child with you for legal adoption.

4. An affidavit signed by an attorney, a government official, etc., placing the child with you pursuant to the state's legal adoption laws.

The placement documentation is sometimes referred to as "Placement Agreement"; "Surrender Papers"; "Temporary Placement Paperwork"; "Placement Order," etc. This documentation, termed differently from state to state, must include establish that the child was placed in your home for purposed of adoption by an authorized adoption agency (or agent), and must includes the following information: Adoptive Parent(s) full name; Child's full name; Name of the Placement Agency or Agent; The date the child was placed in the adoptive parent's home; The signature of the parent or parents (the adopting taxpayers) and that of an official representative of the authorized placing agency or agent.

Should I send in my original documentation? NO! Only send in copies of your documentation. All originals should be kept in a secure location.

How long is the ATIN valid? As soon as the adoption becomes final, the adopting parents should obtain a SSN for the child and notify the IRS of the SSN. When the IRS is notified of the SSN for the adopted child, it will deactivate the ATIN. If the adoption parents do not notify the IRS within 2 years, the ATIN will be automatically deactivated.

What can I do if the ATIN expires before the adoption is finalized? You may apply for an extension.

How long does it take to get an ATIN? It will generally take 4-8 weeks, once the IRS receives a completed Form W-7A. After 8 weeks, if you have not heard from the IRS about you application, you may call the Philadelphia Service Center at 215. 516.4846.

Can I use an ATIN to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit? NO. You can only use a SSN to claim the EITC. However, if you are entitled to the EITC without using the adoptive child as the qualifying child, you can still claim the EITC. When the adoption is final and the child has a SSN, you may file an amended return for an earlier year if you find that you could have claimed EITC in the earlier year, except for the fact that the child did not have a SSN. Use Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, and Schedule EIC. The statue of limitations for filing an amended federal income tax return is normally 3 years from the due date of the return. More detailed information on filing the amended return is available in the instructions for the 1040X.

For more information please read Julie.*

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