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Who is a Qualifying Person for the Child and Dependent Care Credit?

SOLVEDby TurboTax1040Updated December 30, 2021

For the purposes of the Child and Dependent Care Credit, a "Qualifying Person" is defined as one of the following:

  • A child that was age 12 (or younger) for at least part of 2021 and who is also claimed as a dependent on your return. If the child turned 13 during the year, the child will qualify for the part of the year that they were under age 13
    • Exception: See special rules for divorced or separated parents, below
  • Your spouse, if they're unable to care for themselves and lived in your home for more than six months during 2021
  • Anybody who lived in your home for more than six months during 2021 and was unable to care for themselves, if they:
    • Are claimed as a dependent on your return, or
    • Could have been claimed as your dependent but weren't because their gross income was $4,300 or more, they filed a joint return, or you (or your jointly-filing spouse) could be claimed as a dependent on somebody else's 2021 return

TurboTax will figure out if the person(s) for whom you provided care meets these requirements.

Special rules for children of parents who are divorced, separated, or living apart

Even if you can't claim your child as a dependent, they're treated as your qualifying person if:

  • The child either:
    • Was 12 or under or wasn't physically or mentally able to care for themself
    • Received over half their support during 2021 from one or both parents, who are divorced under a decree of divorce, legally separated under a decree of separate maintenance or written separation agreement, or lived apart from July 1 through December 31 of 2021
  • You were the child's custodial parent. The custodial parent is the parent with whom the child lived for the greater number of nights in 2021. If the child was with each parent for an equal number of nights, generally the custodial parent is the parent with the higher adjusted gross income. The noncustodial parent can't treat the child as a qualifying person (and therefore, cannot claim this credit), even if that parent is entitled to claim the child as a dependent under the special rules for a child of divorced or separated parents.


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