TITLE: Support for Tribal Adoption Tax Credit Parity
WHEREAS, we, the members of the National Congress of American Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the inherent sovereign rights of our Indian nations, rights secured under Indian treaties and agreements with the United States, and all other rights and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and Constitution of the United States, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the health, safety and welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution; and
WHEREAS, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was established in 1944 and is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments; and
WHEREAS, the adoption tax credit was enacted to mitigate the financial burden experienced by families adopting children and to reduce the number of children waiting for adoption by permitting adoptive parents to claim an adoption credit of up to $10,000 (which includes an adjustment for inflation); and
WHEREAS, the adoption tax credit was enacted to incentivize the adoption of the most vulnerable children in the child welfare system—those with special needs (including ethnic background, age, membership in a minority or sibling group, medical condition, or disability); and
WHEREAS, when a child adopted is considered “special needs”--as determined by a court with jurisdiction over child welfare proceedings--families do not have to document qualified upfront adoption expenses, recognition by Congress that adopting a child with special needs are likely to incur costs even after the adoption is finalized; and
WHEREAS, now adoptive parents of a child with special needs who is adopted through a tribal court cannot claim the special needs adoption credit because the IRS does not recognize a tribal court’s determination that the child is “special needs;” and
WHEREAS, this oversight results in Indian children who have special needs and their adoptive families losing out on the benefits Congress intended them to have through the adoption tax credit to ease the financial burden of adopting special needs children, and encourage children’s permanent placement in stable home environments; and
WHEREAS, the Tribal Adoption Tax Credit Parity legislation attempts to correct this inequity by authorizing tribal court determinations of special needs in adoption proceedings conducted in their courts.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that NCAI supports the Tribal Adoption Tax Credit Parity legislation and urges Congress to enact this legislation into law; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.
The foregoing resolution was adopted by the General Assembly at the 2013 Annual Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the Cox Business Center from October 13 - 18, 2013 in Tulsa, Oklahoma with a quorum present.