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Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (Federal)

Do you pay someone to watch your child or a disabled family member? Learn how you can deduct part or all of these expenses from your taxes.

Quick Facts
What is it?
The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit is a federal tax credit that allows families to reduce the amount of tax they owe or even get money back from the federal government.

What do I get?
If you pay someone to watch over your children who are ages 12 and younger while you are at work, you might be able to deduct some of your child care expenses from your federal taxes. If you pay someone to provide care for an adult who you claim as a dependent on your taxes, you may also be able to deduct some of your expenses from your federal taxes.

This tax credit is not refundable, which means that you cannot get more money back from the credit than you paid in taxes to the federal government throughout the year.

How much is the tax credit worth?
The tax credit is based on how much you earn per year and how much you spend on child and adult dependent care. The maximum credit you can get per child or dependent adult is $1,050, twice that for two or more.

Look Out
To get the credit, you must give the name and address of the person or organization that provides the care for your child or dependent. You must also give the care provider's social security number or taxpayer identification number.

The payments for care cannot be paid to your spouse, to the parent of your qualifying child or dependent adult, to someone you can claim as your dependent on your return, or to your child who will not be age 19 or older by the end of the year even if he or she is not your dependent.

annual household earned income maximum per child/dependent adult maximum total credit
(for two or more
children/dependent adults)
$0 - $15,000 $1,050 $2,100
$15,001 - $17,000 $1,020 $2,040
$17,001 - $19,000 $990 $1,980
$19,001 - $21,000 $960 $1,920
$21,001 - $23,000 $930 $1,860
$23,001 - $25,000 $900 $1,800
$25,001 - $27,000 $870 $1,740
$27,001 - $29,000 $840 $1,680
$29,001 - $31,000 $810 $1,620
$31,001 - $33,000 $780 $1,560
$33,001 - $35,000 $750 $1,500
$35,001 - $37,000 $720 $1,440
$37,001 - $39,000 $690 $1,380
$39,001 - $41,000 $660 $1,320
$41,001 - $43,000 $630 $1,260
above $43,000 $600 $1,200

Updated 3/22/2011