This post is brought to you by CJ Affiliate’s VIP Content Service with sponsorship by H&R Block. While this is a sponsored opportunity, all content and opinions expressed here are my own. All tax situations are different.
Earlier this year, after nearly five years of waiting for our adoption to happen, we got the phone call we had been waiting on for so long… while on an airplane to Mexico of all places.
Yes, the call we had been waiting on for almost 4 years came during a 2 hour stretch when our phones had to be turned off. Ha! But y’all… When we landed and it popped up that I had a voicemail from our adoption agency… I started crying like a crazy person right there in row 38.
The call came with some of the best news of our life…
WE HAD A DAUGHTER!
It’s a wild and extremely crazy feeling when all your hopes, dreams, and prayers come to a single moment and BAM, you are told “It’s a girl!”
In a house full of boys, it’s safe to say we were ecstatic to hear that we would get to experience being the parents of a little girl. #pinkfordays
After a few months following that call and a whole lot of paperwork (understatement of the century), we were finally allowed to fly to the Philippines and bring home our sweet girl.
So picture this, we get the final ok to travel and bring her home and no more than 24 hours later, we were on a plane.
For the few months in-between waiting and traveling to get her, I had done a little research on weather in the Philippines, hotels, airlines, etc. But none of that prepared us for what was to come.
I don’t know if anyone has tried to get ready for a baby, pack for international travel, book all accommodations including flights, find someone to watch three boys at home and be out the door in 24 hours.
But we did. And it was straight crazy.
It’s been a dream come true from the moment we brought her home, and really, settling into our new lives as a family of six hasn’t been that hard.
Her brothers fell in love with her from the moment they met her at the airport, and I love getting the chance to – finally – be the girl mom I was meant to be.
We are now officially – – – half a dozen roses.
She’s the final rose (and don’t think I’m going all ABC’s Bachelor on you with that).
However, adopting isn’t all rainbows and unicorns.
Did you know toddlers are into everything? Yep. Shocker, I know right?
They also think it’s funny to not sleep some nights which can make a mama crazy.
But more than the day-to-day routine of sleep, eat, play… once you’re back home from adopting, kids cost money. Lots of it.
Don’t get me wrong, we are forever grateful that God has placed this sweet girl in our family, but, just like having a baby the traditional way, the same is true for adding a child to your family via adoption… there are financial and tax complications to juggle.
I think this is the part I was least prepared for.
So, this is where we are going to get down to business.
You know why?
Because it’s almost the dreaded tax time, my friends, and I learned a few things I didn’t know prior to going through adoption that I think you will find helpful.
And because I am married to a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER.
Which means we take our finances, taxes, and business stuff seriously. Ha!
How Having Kids Affects Your Taxes
There are numerous tax deductions (like the adoption credit) available to adoptive parents that we didn’t know about. However, they don’t apply to every family in every income bracket so be sure to check if you qualify.
If you do, it’s a huge (HUGE!) benefit to be able to claim a credit for some of your adoption expenses. And trust me, adoption expenses add up over the course of five years.
For us, the bulk of the change we’ll experience with our taxes is how we’ll save for our children’s college education, claiming dependents and some other minor things.
Having kids can make a huge difference in how much you owe come tax time depending on your income and family status (now don’t go making babies just for the tax benefits… ha!).
For example, having a child, whether biologically or through adoption, can save you $1,000 in federal income tax if you qualify for one of the child tax credits. And this credit extends to each subsequent child you have naturally or adopt if you meet the requirements.
One of those requirements is your income since the child tax credit starts phasing out above $110,000 on joint returns and $75,000 for adults who file single or head of household.
If you’re single and not married, having or adopting a child can also mean changing your filing status from single to head of household.
With this special designation, you could qualify for a bigger standard deduction and other benefits.
But see, these are all things that you would never know unless you had a tax professional helping you (or you went to college to become an accountant). 🙂
If you qualify for the earned income credit, having a baby or adopting will make qualifying that much easier.
I also want to mention the child and dependent care tax credit, which you may qualify for if you pay for child care while you work. This was huge for us when the kids went to daycare.
All of this sounds stressful, doesn’t it?
While I’m more than happy to hand over my fair share of taxes, the logistics and rules makes my head spin for sure.
File Your Taxes Online for Free
Fortunately, I do have some good news… Taxes may be boring, but getting your taxes done for free is certainly not.
H&R Block’s putting on a new promotion that lets you file taxes online – for free, and from the comfort of your own home, in your yoga pants. Ha!
Amen, my yoga pant wearing mama friends.
Yep, that’s right… H&R Block’s new product, More Zero, will let you prepare and file federal and state 1040EZ, 1040A, and 1040 with Schedule A completely free if you do it online.
If you’re used to forking over big money to have your taxes prepared (hand held high over here), this is huge!
This is an especially good deal for those of you who own a home, itemize deductions, and families with medical and childcare expenses.
Once you create your secure online account and get started, here are some of the benefits you can look forward to:
- Easy uploads – Take a picture of your w2 with your smartphone!
- Easy imports – You can easily import last year’s tax returns, even if you didn’t use H&R Block last year, saving time and headache.
- Go mobile – Enjoy improved flow and usability on mobile apps.
Maybe this doesn’t excite you the way it does me (I tend to be a geek)… but y’all… I am not only a mother of four, blogger, decorator, podcaster and marriage advocate… I am also the bookkeeper for our online businesses.
So I get excited about weird stuff. Don’t judge me.
While taxes aren’t necessarily something to get excited about, making tax-time easier is, especially if you have the role of bookkeeper as part of your title.
With H&R Block’s More Zero, you’ll file your taxes for free – and with a lot less headache.
And even if you don’t file your taxes with H&R Block, you can benefit from the new calculators they have on their website.
After answering a few simple questions, one calculator will help you estimate how much you’ll owe at tax time for free.
Other calculators can help you understand your refund amount or balance due on your W-4, or find out how the Affordable Care Act might affect your taxes.
Now that all those details are out of the way, here’s the recap (or the short version if you like the cliff notes).
- H&R Block’s More Zero may let you file federal and state taxes for free depending on your filing status. Since tax preparation often costs $100 or more, this is a huge deal!
- H&R Block has a bunch of new features that can make filing even easier. You can snap a pic of your W2 with your smartphone for heaven’s sake! Hello 2017!
- Not only that, but you can complete a bunch of your tax work on their mobile app.
- H&R Block’s simple question-and-answer process will make sure you don’t miss those lucrative tax benefits I talked about – the adoption tax credit (if you have adopted), child tax credit, credits for childcare expenses, the earned income credit, head of household and more.
Remember, the more credits you can legally accept, the smaller your tax bill will be.
And the more money you will have for date night.
Obviously, with four kids, we need A LOT of date nights.
Having kids to call our own has been amazing, and adopting has been more rewarding than I ever imagined it could be.
Sometimes, I wish I could write only about my kids, how fun they are, and how much better they make our lives every day.
But, you know what? As parents, we have to address the responsible things too. Or so says my financial advisor hubby.
And (yawn) that means dealing with stuff like this.
Fortunately, H&R Block is trying to make the process as painless as it possibly can be – and as a exhausted mama of multiple children? I appreciate anyone who tries to make my life easier. Amen.