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Tax tips for summertime child care expenses

Posted by Andrew Chan  July 21, 2009 10:00 AM

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I've heard about the tax credit for child care expenses but can the cost of summer camps be included towards that credit?

The Child and Dependent Care tax credit is available to those who are working or looking for work and must pay for the care of their children, spouse, or dependents (i.e., a qualifying person). The qualifying person can be a child under age 13 or a spouse or dependent who cannot care for himself or herself. The credit can be up to 35 percent of your qualifying expenses depending on your income. The qualifying expenses can be incurred at any point during the year including during the summer months when children are out of school. Here are a few other types of expenses and how the IRS views them for purposes of this credit:

Summer Camp Expenses
The cost of certain types of summer camps are considered a qualified expenses. In particular, day camp expenses may be qualified but overnight camp expenses are not. The cost of overnight camps are not generally considered a work-related expense and therefore not a qualified expense for this credit.

If you send your child to a day camp that specializes in a particular activity such as a sport, this may also be considered a qualified expense.

Educational Expenses

Expenses for a child in nursery school, pre-school, or similar programs for children below the level of kindergarten are expenses for care. However, expenses to attend kindergarten or a higher grade are not expenses for care.

However, expenses for before-school or after-school care of a child in kindergarten or a higher grade may be qualified expenses.

Summer School
Expenses for summer school and tutoring programs are not considered qualified expenses.

For more information about the details of this credit and how to claim it, visit the IRS' web site and review Publication 503 (http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p503.pdf).

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