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What is the Child and Dependent Care Credit?

SOLVEDby TurboTax4759Updated April 15, 2022

The Child and Dependent Care Credit (not to be confused with the similar-sounding Child Tax Credit) can reduce your tax bill if you paid for a dependent's care so that you could work or look for work.

To qualify for this credit, you must meet all of these criteria:

  • You (and your spouse, if filing jointly) must have earned income
    • The earned income requirement for one spouse is waived if they were a full-time student or disabled (if they lived with the other spouse for more than 6 months in 2021)
  • You paid caregiving expenses so that you (and your spouse, if filing jointly) could work or look for work
    • The work/look for work requirement for one spouse is waived if they were a full-time student or disabled (if they lived with the other spouse for more than 6 months in 2021)
  • You paid a caregiver to care for a Qualifying Person. The caregiver can't be:
    • Your spouse
    • Your dependent
    • Your child if they were under 19 on the last day of 2021, even if not your dependent
    • The parent of the Qualifying Person, if the Qualifying Person is your child under the age of 13 during 2021
  • Your filing status is not Married Filing Separately (except under certain circumstances)
  • You can provide the care provider's name, address, and their SSN, ITIN, or EIN on your return (unless it's a tax-exempt organization)

The credit is worth as much as 50% of your qualified expenses, up to $8,000, (for one qualifying person), and $16,000 (for two or more qualifying persons). Your percentage depends on your AGI, with the higher percentages applying to lower incomes and vice-versa.

For example, a married couple supporting two qualifying persons who paid $16,000 in qualified expenses may qualify for up to $8,000 in credits, depending on their AGI. 

TurboTax will determine your eligibility and calculate the maximum credit allowed. Go here for steps on how to get to the Child and Dependent Care Credit section in TurboTax.

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