Adoption ID Number
An Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number (ATIN) is issued by the IRS as a temporary identification number for an adoptive child. This number is assigned when the adopting taxpayers are unable to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) for the child.
An ATIN is not intended to be a permanent identifying number; it will expire two years after the date of issue or when you receive a valid SSN for the child. Once the adoption is final, you should apply for an SSN for the child.
When you get the SSN, notify the IRS. If the adoption is not final before the ATIN expires, you can apply for an extension. Six months before the end of the two-year period, you will receive instructions from the IRS on how to apply for an extension.
You cannot claim the child as a dependent or claim any childcare expenses for the child without an identifying number.
Who Should Apply
You should apply for an ATIN only if you are in the process of adopting a child and all the following are true:
- The child is legally placed in your home by an authorized adoption agency for legal adoption.
- The adoption is a domestic adoption or is a foreign adoption and the child has a Permanent Resident Alien card or a Certification of Citizenship.
- You cannot obtain the child's existing SSN even though you have made a reasonable attempt to do so.
- You cannot obtain a new SSN for the child from the Social Security Administration.
- You are eligible to claim the child as a dependent on your tax return.
How to Apply
To apply you must file Form W-7A. To file this form you will need:
- Name of the child
- Birth information
- Placement agency information
- Placement documentation
Placement documentation is the signed documentation that places the child in your care for legal adoption. The type of documentation varies by state. All documentation types should clearly establish the child was placed in your home by an authorized adoption agency for the purpose of adoption.
Generally, this documentation can be any of the following:
- A placement agreement between you and a public or private adoption agency
- A document signed by a hospital official releasing a newborn child to you for adoption
- A court order or other court document ordering or approving the placement of the child with you for legal adoption
- An affidavit signed by an attorney, government official, judge, or similar appointee approving the placement of the child with you pursuant to the state's legal adoption laws
Regardless of which type of documentation is used, it must include:
- Full name of adoptive parent(s)
- Full name of child
- Name of the placement agency or agent
- Date the child was placed in your home
- Signature of the parent(s) and the official representative of the placing agency
Do not attach original documents when filing Form W-7A. A copy of the documentation is acceptable. The IRS will not return any documents.
An ATIN is not valid for claiming the Earned Income Credit (EIC). If the child qualifies you for EIC, you can file an amended return after you get the child's SSN.
It takes about 4-8 weeks to receive an ATIN after you submit Form W-7A. If you have not received the ATIN after 8 weeks, contact the IRS at (512) 460-7898.