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valkyr47
New Member

Can i claim child care expenses for non-dependent child?

I have two children. Child A is claimed by me each yer per our divorce decree. Child B is claimed by my ex-wife, again per our divorce degree.

Last year i happened to pay all the daycare and pre-k tuition expenses for Child B (who my wife claims) because i make more money and it was the higher expense, she paid aftercare for Child A (child i claim).

So can i turn around, claim Child A as usual but also claim child care expenses for Child B even if she is claiming Child B as her dependent? Or does it not work like that?

What if this one year we switch and I claim Child B, head of household and all daycare expenses, and she does the same for Child A. Does the IRS care if our divorce decree says I claim Child A? or will it not matter as long as each child is claimed only once by different parents? thank you!
1 Best answer

Accepted Solutions
IsabellaG
Employee Tax Expert

Can i claim child care expenses for non-dependent child?

The child doesn't have to be your dependent,  but the child must live with you. Only the custodial parent can claim the child care credit. And to claim the credit, the person claiming the expense must have paid it.  To be your qualifying child for this credit, a child must live with you for more than half the year and meet other requirements.


Please see this link: https://www.irs.gov/publications/p503/ar02.html#en_US_2015_publink1000203265

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28 Replies
IsabellaG
Employee Tax Expert

Can i claim child care expenses for non-dependent child?

The child doesn't have to be your dependent,  but the child must live with you. Only the custodial parent can claim the child care credit. And to claim the credit, the person claiming the expense must have paid it.  To be your qualifying child for this credit, a child must live with you for more than half the year and meet other requirements.


Please see this link: https://www.irs.gov/publications/p503/ar02.html#en_US_2015_publink1000203265

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valkyr47
New Member

Can i claim child care expenses for non-dependent child?

Well the child lives with both of us 50/50. Typically even though both kids are back and forth equally, I always claim my child lives with me the whole year, and she does the same for the other child. We both file head of household, with 1 dependent living with us the whole year.

So in this case, what if I claim Child B, head of household, lives with me all year, and the child care credit. She could do the exact same for Child A.

Next year we simply revert to what the divorce decree states. does the IRS even care what the divorce paperwork states for claiming a child as long as each child is only being claimed once?

Thank you for the help!!!
IsabellaG
Employee Tax Expert

Can i claim child care expenses for non-dependent child?

When it comes to claiming exemptions, the custody of the child is the controlling factor.
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matt-ward
New Member

Can i claim child care expenses for non-dependent child?

I read pub 503 that lists the tests you must to claim the credit.  The first test is a "qualifying person test".  This states "A qualifying person is ... Your qualifying child who is your dependent and who was under age 13".   So this seems to say that the child has to be your dependent to claim.  In that example given by Valkyr47 he states that the mum claims the child as a dependent.  Does that change the answer?
IsabellaG
Employee Tax Expert

Can i claim child care expenses for non-dependent child?

No, see this link, under "special rule for divorced or separated parents" <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="https://www.eitc.irs.gov/Tax-Preparer-Toolkit/faqs/divorced">https://www.eitc.irs.gov/Tax-Preparer-T...>
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turbousvi
New Member

Can i claim child care expenses for non-dependent child?

I know this is 3 years later, but I was reading the responses on this and....just because someone else might need an answer to this... Yes, you can claim medical and child care expenses even if the child doesn't live with you. The child would be considered a non-dependent which would allow the other parent to claim the child tax and EIC credit. Only one parent can claim this credit, but you can claim deductions for the expenses.
macuser_22
Level 15

Can i claim child care expenses for non-dependent child?

@turbousvi - that is not correct.    To claim the child care credit, Federal Tax law, requires that the child must live with the parent *more* than half the tax year (more the  183 nights).

Only the parent that lived with the child more than half the year (custodial parent) can claim the child care credit.

Child care is "work related".  It can only be claimed if the care was necessary so that you (and your spouse if married) could work.  Only if the child lived with you more than half the year *and* the care was required so that you could work is it allowed.  If you did not live with the child or work at the time that the care was provided then it was not necessary so that you could work and therefore is not allowed.

See IRS Pub 503.
<a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="https://www.irs.gov/publications/p503#en_US_2018_publink100048433">https://www.irs.gov/publications/...>

The EIC also requires that the child physically lived with the parent more than half the year.
**Disclaimer: This post is for discussion purposes only and is NOT tax advice. The author takes no responsibility for the accuracy of any information in this post.**
turbousvi
New Member

Can i claim child care expenses for non-dependent child?

@macuser_22 The parent who the child doesn't live with would claim the exemption and the child care credit for that year, the other parent (who the child lives with) would claim the EIC credit for that year.
macuser_22
Level 15

Can i claim child care expenses for non-dependent child?

@turbousvi  - That is incorrect, The parent who the child doesn't live with would claim the child as a dependent and the *child tax credit*, not the child care credit.   (And for 2018-2025 there no longer any exemption.)

See:  <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="https://www.irs.gov/publications/p501#en_US_2018_publink1000220904">https://www.irs.gov/publications...>

[quote from pub 501]
If statements (1) through (4) are all true, only the noncustodial parent can:

   - Claim the child as a dependent, and

   - Claim the child as a qualifying child for the child tax credit or the credit for other dependents.

However, this doesn’t allow the noncustodial parent to claim head of household filing status, the credit for child and dependent care expenses, the exclusion for dependent care benefits, the earned income credit, or the health coverage tax credit. See Applying the tiebreaker rules to divorced or separated parents (or parents who live apart) , later.
[end quote]


**Disclaimer: This post is for discussion purposes only and is NOT tax advice. The author takes no responsibility for the accuracy of any information in this post.**
depreciatedasset
New Member

Can i claim child care expenses for non-dependent child?

Best practice is to make sure that the dependency, along with the child care credit, go hand in hand. 

 

Many parents, who are not married, alternate dependency and therefore should alternate the childcare credit, if there is any.

 

I understand that both parents may share in the childcare each year, however, you really need to have a child as a dependent, in order to show that the child care you paid was for the benefit of that dependent, for that year.

teresamorgan0301969
Level 5

Can i claim child care expenses for non-dependent child?

What if my child is over 18 and has filed her own taxes but I paid for her expenses?

DawnC
Employee Tax Expert

Can i claim child care expenses for non-dependent child?

Unfortunately no.  The Child and Dependent Care credit is for child care expense for children 12 and under.  The Child Tax Credit is for dependents under 17.   @teresamorgan0301969

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teresamorgan0301969
Level 5

Can i claim child care expenses for non-dependent child?

I am getting mixed answers and I just want to be sure, so I cannot claim my 18-year-old daughter, that does have a 1099 job,  that lives with me?

Thank you. 

Mike9241
Level 15

Can i claim child care expenses for non-dependent child?

being 18, she is too old for you to get those credits. there is an age exception if your daughter is physically or mentally incapable of caring for herself. i don't think this is your situation 

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