Day Care
 Expenses


Child and Dependent Care Credit

If you paid someone to care for a qualifying individual so you (and your spouse if you are married) could work or look for work, you may be able to claim the credit for child and dependent care expenses.

If you are married, both you and your spouse must have earned income, unless one spouse was either a full–time student or was physically or mentally incapable of self–care. The expenses you paid must have been for the care of one or more of the following qualifying individuals:


Your dependent (under the rules for qualifying child) who was under age 13 when care was provided.

A noncustodial parent, however, cannot treat a child as a qualifying person even if the parent may claim the child as an exemption.

Your spouse who was mentally or physically not able to care for himself or herself and who has the same principal place of abode as you for more than one-half of the year.

Your dependent who was physically or mentally not able to care for himself or herself, for whom you can claim an exemption, and who has the same principal place of abode as you for more than one-half of the year.

In addition to the conditions just described, to take the credit, you must meet all the following conditions:

You must provide the taxpayer identification number (usually the social security number) of the qualifying person.

Your filing status must be a status other than married filing separate (You must file a joint return if you are married.)

The payments for care cannot be paid to someone you can claim as your dependent, or to your child who is under age 19 even if he or she is not your dependent.

You must report the name, address, and taxpayer identification number, (either the social security number, or the employer identification number) of the care provider on your return, unless the care provider is tax exempt. You can use Form W-10 (PDF), Dependent Care Provider's Identification and Certification, to request this information from the care provider.

The credit is a percentage, based on your adjusted gross income, of the amount of work–related child and dependent care expenses you paid to a care provider.

There is a maximum dollar limit of dependent care expenses you can use for this credit. The amount of the maximum dollar limit depends on the taxable year and the number of qualifying children. These dollar limits must be reduced by the amount of any dependent care benefits provided by your employer that you exclude from your income. Refer to Publication 503, Child and Dependent Care Expenses, for additional information.

If you pay someone to look after your dependent or spouse in your home, you may be a household employer. If you are a household employer, you may have to withhold and pay social security and Medicare tax and pay federal unemployment tax.

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