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Can I count a school towards the child care credit if I used it as daycare for my two year old?

I worked full time and my husband was a full time student.  We chose to send our son to the school rather than daycare because we wouldn't be required to pay during the summer.
3 Replies

Can I count a school towards the child care credit if I used it as daycare for my two year old?

For a child under kindergarten age, it doesn’t matter if the program is also educational. If you placed the child in care so that you and your spouse could both work, then the care is eligible for the dependent care credit.

Can I count a school towards the child care credit if I used it as daycare for my two year old?

@anschlager as a follow up to @Opus 17 response where it was stated 'so that both can work', there is an exception if one spouse is a full time student, which is defined as:


Full-time student. You are a full-time student if you are enrolled at a school for the number of hours or classes
that the school considers full-time. You must have been a full-time student for some part of each of 5 calendar
months during the year. (The months need not be consecutive


otherwise, to be eligible for the credit, both must work


suggest watching the questions closely in Turbo Tax when you complete the interview section to watch for the question about a parent being a full time student, 


are you asking about 2021 or 2022 tax year?


the 2022 limits revert back to the pre-2021 limits, including the credit is again non-refundable, which means it can not reduce Line 22 below zero on Form 1040. 


In 2021, it was refundable, so it is not impacted by you tax liaiblity on Line 22; it will reduce what you owe or increase your refund

Can I count a school towards the child care credit if I used it as daycare for my two year old?


The rules for the dependent care credit for “full-time student“ are not the same as for educational benefits or the definition of dependent. The nonworking spouse is only eligible for the credit during the months when they are actually a full-time student. If the nonworking spouse was a full-time student in five months, they may qualify for certain educational credits, but they do not qualify for the dependent care credit for the entire year, only the five months in which they were a full-time student.


For example, if there is one child in care and using the 2022 limits, the maximum credit is applied toward $3000 of expenses. The maximum expenses that can be claimed is either $3000, or the income of the lowest earning spouse, whichever is lower. The nonworking spouse is allocated $250 of income for each month that they are a student, for purpose of calculating the credit.  If the nonworking spouse was a student for five months, and had no income for the rest of the year, they could claim a maximum of $1250 of care expenses toward the credit. On the other hand, because of the way form 2441 works, if the nonworking spouse had a job and earned $3000 in one month, and was unemployed or a student for the rest of the year, they would qualify for the maximum credit because their earnings for the year were at least $3000, even if they were earned all in one month.  (This is not necessarily how the credit was intended to be used but it is how the forms and instructions actually work.)

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