For many parents, in order to make money, they have to spend money. Working parents may have to pay for the care of their child while they are at work, and if so, they may be eligible for a limited tax credit. The tax credit, known as the dependent care credit, is based on your income and has a few other eligibility requirements.
Taxpayers can receive a credit for expenses resulting from the care of a child or a dependent during work hours. The dependent care credit is deducted as a percentage of all qualifying expenses, at a rate of 20% to 35%. For a single child or dependent, the limit on expenses that can be taken into account for the credit is $3,000. The limit is increased to $6,000 if you have two or more children or dependents. Employees who have child care expenses reimbursed by their employer may be eligible to exclude the funds from their income up to $5,000.
There are six requirements which must all be met in order to qualify to claim the credit. The expenses incurred must be related to child care so that the taxpayer can work and earn an income. Additionally, the taxpayer must be responsible for paying the expenses for the dependent, as well as over half of the expenses related to managing the household. If the taxpayer is married, he/she must file a joint tax return with their spouse. If the taxpayer receives employer reimbursement for child care, their expenses must exceed the reimbursement amount. In all cases, the taxpayer must provide accurate information about the child care provider.
Expenses must qualify in order to be considered for the credit, and must meet certain criteria. Some examples of qualifying expenses follow:
- Day Camp, including those that specialize in a specific area like sports or academics
- Day Care Center
- Portion of expenses related to in-home care of a dependent by a housekeeper
- Nursery school
- Private School for students below first grade (unless the child is handicapped and spends at minimum 8 hours a day at home)
- Transportation by a third party to a care center or day camp, though personal transportation does not qualify.