Making sure your children are cared for while you work can be costly. That’s why the Child and Dependent Care Credit is such a great tax credit for working parents. The credit can take up to $3,000 off of the top of your taxable income, or even double that if you have more than one child in child care.
But the credit not only applies to children under 12, but also to dependent adults. Let’s look at what dependents are eligible.
The credit lets you recoup up to 35% of your qualifying expenses. The maximum is $3,000 for one dependent, and $6,000 for two or more dependents.
The credit is reduced at higher income levels. If your AGI is less than $15,000, you get a credit of 35% of all qualified expenses. Then, for every $2,000 your AGI increases, the percentage decreases by 1%. At $43,000 and above, the credit is fixed at 20% of qualified expenses.
BUT: If your employer pays for a dependent care benefit plan, your maximum credit is reduced by that amount. Example: John’s maximum allowance for dependent care is $3,000, but his employer pays $700 yearly for dependent care. John’s maximum allowance is now $2,300.
Any dependent child under the age of 13, but there are some other requirements:
Having a qualifying adult dependent – a spouse or relative – who is incapable of caring for themselves may qualify you for the credit. If the dependent is not cared for by you or your spouse and the dependent lived with you more than half the year, any qualifying expenses can be deducted. Adult day-care programs and similar programs are qualifying expenses.
Claiming the Credit
Claiming the Child and Dependent Care Credit is a two-part process. First, fill out the Dependent screen for the child or other dependent, including the amount of child or dependent expenses you paid for the year. Then fill out the Form 2441 – Child and Dependent Care Expenses screen to provide particulars about the care expenses and who they were paid to.