Write off the Cost of Camp

Kimberly Lankford

Can I take the child-care tax credit for sending my daughters to camp this summer?

Can I take the child-care tax credit for sending my daughters to camp this summer?

Perhaps. The cost of day camp can qualify for the dependent-care tax credit if your children are younger than age 13 and you're sending them to camp so you can work. You also can deduct the cost of daycare, preschool, a nanny or other babysitter while you are working. If you're married, both you and your spouse must have earned income during the year.

The size of the credit depends on the number of children and your income. You can count up to $3,000 in child-care expenses for one child; $6,000 for two children. Low-income families can take a credit for up to 35% of those expenses; families earning more than $43,000 can deduct 20%. So if you have two children and pay more than $6,000 for preschool, a nanny or day camp, you can claim a $1,200 credit if you earn more than $43,000.

To claim the credit, you'll need to file Form 2441 with your taxes. You'll need to know the care provider's employer ID number of social security number. For more details about what qualifies and how much -- especially if you work part-time or get child-care benefits through work -- see IRS Publication 503 Child and Dependent Care Expenses and the instructions for Form 2441.

For more information about financial planning for parents, see Five Financial Flubs of New Parents.

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