We had expenses (agency fees) in the years 2008; 2009; 2010; 2011.
We can't claim all of the expenses on 2011 taxes. Damn.
We have to go back to our 2009 return and amend it for 2008 expenses, then carry over to 2010 anything that we don't qualify for (i.e. it wasn't refundable in those years so if the credit is more than our tax liability, can't get it back).
Then, we amend our 2010 return to include any carry over and 2009 expenses. The credit is refundable for 2010 so we'll get all of the credit (our expenses paid).
In 2011, we claim 2010 and 2011 expenses.
So, if like us, you were utterly confused by the language and thought you couldn't claim the credit until the adoption is final, then some legwork and backtracking is needed to get the full amount. But, I hear this is the way to do it, because if the powers that be deny the full amount (like, we try to take all years on 2011 taxes) then it's a mess to try to get the rest, or it's gone. Not sure which, whatever it is, it's probably a big pain in the ass.
It still might be a pain in the ass.
Need more info? Go to www.nacac.org they have a t.ax credit tab with lots of tips, faqs and an email address. They got back to me within a few days. Score for service!
You can also go to www.creatingafamily.org
Happy ta.x $eason!