Writing Off Child Care Expenses
The Child Care and Dependent Care Credit allows families to get back a portion of the money they paid to a child care provider and help reduce the amount of money you owe. You can receive up to a 35% credit on qualifying expenses of $3,000 for one child, or up to $6,000 for two or more children.
Child care can include a variety of care including: a day care center, summer camp, in home care, nanny, or babysitter. (See more criteria down below.)
To qualify for the Child Care and Dependent Care Credit, you must meet all the following criteria:
- You (and your spouse, if you are married filing jointly) must have earned income for the tax year.
- You must be the custodial parent or main caretaker of the child or dependent.
- The child or dependent care service must have been used so that you could work or look for employment.
- Your filing status must be single, head of household, qualifying widow or widower with a qualifying child, or married filing jointly.
- Your child or dependent must be under 13.
- If the child is disabled and is physically or mentally unable to care for themselves, there is no age requirement.
- The childcare provider cannot be your spouse or dependent or the child’s parent.
Qualifying expenses include:
- Childcare provided by a babysitter or licensed dependent care center.
- The cost of a cook, housekeeper, maid, or cleaning person who provides care for the child or dependent.
- Day camp or summer camp fees if the camp was selected to provide care while the parent or parents were at work. However, overnight camps do not qualify.
- Before- and after-school care for children under 13.
- Costs related to a nurse, home care provider, or other care provider for a disabled dependent.
Please note that expenses related to schooling, tutoring, or overnight camps are not qualifying expenses.
How to Claim the Child Care Credit:
- Fill out Form 2441 with your federal tax return
- Provide identifying information from your child care provider. (They will usually send this to you automatically, but you can call and ask for it.)
- Name, address, and taxpayer identification number for your child care provider
- Provide total dollar amount that was spent on child care
- Child care provider should send this to you automatically, but you can request a copy of your receipt
To learn more about the Child and Dependent Care Credit, visit the IRS website.