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taxmap/pub17/p17-171.htm#en_us_publink1000174413

How To Figure  
the Credit(p224)


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Your credit is a percentage of your work-related expenses. Your expenses are subject to the earned income limit and the dollar limit. The percentage is based on your adjusted gross income.
taxmap/pub17/p17-171.htm#en_us_publink1000174414

Figuring Total  
Work-Related Expenses(p224)


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To figure the credit for 2009 work-related expenses, count only those you paid by December 31, 2009.
taxmap/pub17/p17-171.htm#en_us_publink1000174415

Expenses prepaid in an earlier year.(p224)


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Expenses Prepaid in an Earlier Year

If you pay for services before they are provided, you can count the prepaid expenses only in the year the care is received. Claim the expenses for the later year as if they were actually paid in that later year.
taxmap/pub17/p17-171.htm#en_us_publink1000174416

Expenses not paid until the following year.(p224)


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Expenses Not Paid Until the Following Year

Do not count 2008 expenses that you paid in 2009 as work-related expenses for 2009. You may be able to claim an additional credit for them on your 2009 return, but you must figure it separately. See Payments for previous year's expenses under Amount of Credit in Publication 503.
Deposit
If you had expenses in 2009 that you did not pay until 2010, you cannot count them when figuring your 2009 credit. You may be able to claim a credit for them on your 2010 return.
taxmap/pub17/p17-171.htm#en_us_publink1000174418

Expenses reimbursed.(p224)


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previous topic occurrence Expenses Reimbursed next topic occurrence

If a state social services agency pays you a nontaxable amount to reimburse you for some of your child and dependent care expenses, you cannot count the expenses that are reimbursed as work-related expenses.
taxmap/pub17/p17-171.htm#en_us_publink1000174419

Example.(p224)

You paid work-related expenses of $3,000. You are reimbursed $2,000 by a state social services agency. You can use only $1,000 to figure your credit.
taxmap/pub17/p17-171.htm#en_us_publink1000174420

Medical expenses.(p224)


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previous topic occurrence Dental and Medical Expenses next topic occurrence

Some expenses for the care of qualifying persons who are not able to care for themselves may qualify as work-related expenses and also as medical expenses. You can use them either way, but you cannot use the same expenses to claim both a credit and a medical expense deduction.
If you use these expenses to figure the credit and they are more than the earned income limit or the dollar limit, discussed later, you can add the excess to your medical expenses. However, if you use your total expenses to figure your medical expense deduction, you cannot use any part of them to figure your credit.
EIC
Amounts excluded from your income under your employer's dependent care benefits plan cannot be used to claim a medical expense deduction.
taxmap/pub17/p17-171.htm#en_us_publink1000174422

Dependent Care Benefits(p224)


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previous topic occurrence Dependent Care Benefits next topic occurrence

If you receive dependent care benefits, your dollar limit for purposes of the credit may be reduced. See Reduced Dollar Limit, later. But, even if you cannot take the credit, you may be able to take an exclusion or deduction for the dependent care benefits.
taxmap/pub17/p17-171.htm#en_us_publink1000174424

Dependent care benefits.(p224)


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Dependent care benefits include:
  1. Amounts your employer paid directly to either you or your care provider for the care of your qualifying person while you work,
  2. The fair market value of care in a daycare facility provided or sponsored by your employer, and
  3. Pre-tax contributions you made under a dependent care flexible spending arrangement.
Your salary may have been reduced to pay for these benefits. If you received benefits as an employee, they should be shown in box 10 of your Form W-2. See Statement for employee, later. Benefits you received as a partner should be shown in box 13 of your Schedule K-1 (Form 1065) with code O. Enter the amount of these benefits on the first line of Part III of Form 2441.
taxmap/pub17/p17-171.htm#en_us_publink1000174426

Exclusion or deduction.(p224)


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Exclusion or Deduction

If your employer provides dependent care benefits under a qualified plan, you may be able to exclude these benefits from your income. Your employer can tell you whether your benefit plan qualifies. To claim the exclusion, you must complete Part III of Form 2441. You cannot use Form 1040EZ.
If you are self-employed and receive benefits from a qualified dependent care benefit plan, you are treated as both employer and employee. Therefore, you would not get an exclusion from wages. Instead, you would get a deduction on Form 1040, Schedule C, line 14; Schedule E, line 18 or 28; or Schedule F, line 17. To claim the deduction, you must use Form 2441.
The amount you can exclude or deduct is limited to the smallest of:
  1. The total amount of dependent care benefits you received during the year,
  2. The total amount of qualified expenses you incurred during the year,
  3. Your earned income,
  4. Your spouse's earned income, or
  5. $5,000 ($2,500 if married filing separately). See Earned Income Limit, below.
The definition of earned income for the exclusion or deduction is the same as the definition used when figuring the credit except that earned income for the exclusion or deduction does not include any dependent care benefits you receive. For details or if you or your spouse had nontaxable combat pay, see the instructions for Form 2441.
taxmap/pub17/p17-171.htm#en_us_publink1000174427

Statement for employee.(p225)


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Statement for Employee

Your employer must give you a Form W-2 (or similar statement) showing in box 10 the total amount of dependent care benefits provided to you during the year under a qualified plan. Your employer will also include any dependent care benefits over $5,000 in your wages shown on your Form W-2 in box 10.
taxmap/pub17/p17-171.htm#en_us_publink1000174428

Effect of exclusion.(p225)


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previous topic occurrence Effect of Exclusion next topic occurrence

If you exclude dependent care benefits from your income, the amount of the excluded benefits:
  1. Is not included in your work-related expenses, and
  2. Reduces the dollar limit, discussed later.
taxmap/pub17/p17-171.htm#en_us_publink1000174429

Earned Income Limit(p225)


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previous topic occurrence Earned Income Limit next topic occurrence

The amount of work-related expenses you use to figure your credit cannot be more than:
  1. Your earned income for the year if you are single at the end of the year, or
  2. The smaller of your or your spouse's earned income for the year if you are married at the end of the year.
Earned income is defined under Earned Income Test, earlier.
Deposit
For purposes of item (2), use your spouse's earned income for the entire year, even if you were married for only part of the year.
taxmap/pub17/p17-171.htm#en_us_publink1000174432

Separated spouse.(p225)


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previous topic occurrence Divorced or Separated Spouses/Parents next topic occurrence

If you are legally separated or married and living apart from your spouse (as described under Joint Return Test, earlier), you are not considered married for purposes of the earned income limit. Use only your income in figuring the earned income limit.
taxmap/pub17/p17-171.htm#en_us_publink1000174434

Surviving spouse.(p225)


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Surviving Spouse

If your spouse died during the year and you file a joint return as a surviving spouse, you are not considered married for purposes of the earned income limit. Use only your income in figuring the earned income limit.
taxmap/pub17/p17-171.htm#en_us_publink1000174435

Community property laws.(p225)


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previous topic occurrence Community Property Laws next topic occurrence

You should disregard community property laws when you figure earned income for this credit.
taxmap/pub17/p17-171.htm#en_us_publink1000174436

Student-spouse or spouse not able to care for self.(p225)


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previous topic occurrence Student-spouse or Spouse Not Able to Care for Self next topic occurrence

Your spouse who is either a full-time student or not able to care for himself or herself is treated as having earned income. His or her earned income for each month is considered to be at least $250 if there is one qualifying person in your home, or at least $500 if there are two or more.
taxmap/pub17/p17-171.htm#en_us_publink1000174437

Spouse works.(p225)
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If your spouse works during that month, use the higher of $250 (or $500) or his or her actual earned income for that month.
taxmap/pub17/p17-171.htm#en_us_publink1000174438

Spouse qualifies for part of month.(p225)
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If your spouse is a full-time student or not able to care for himself or herself for only part of a month, the full $250 (or $500) still applies for that month.
taxmap/pub17/p17-171.htm#en_us_publink1000174439

Both spouses qualify.(p225)
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If, in the same month, both you and your spouse are either full-time students or not able to care for yourselves, only one spouse can be considered to have this earned income of $250 (or $500) for that month.
taxmap/pub17/p17-171.htm#en_us_publink1000174440

Dollar Limit(p225)


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previous topic occurrence Dollar Limit next topic occurrence

There is a dollar limit on the amount of your work-related expenses you can use to figure the credit. This limit is $3,000 for one qualifying person, or $6,000 for two or more qualifying persons.
Deposit
If you paid work-related expenses for the care of two or more qualifying persons, the $6,000 limit does not need to be divided equally among them. For example, if your work-related expenses for the care of one qualifying person are $3,200 and your work-related expenses for another qualifying person are $2,800, you can use the total, $6,000, when figuring the credit.
taxmap/pub17/p17-171.htm#en_us_publink1000174442

Yearly limit.(p225)


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Yearly Limit

The dollar limit is a yearly limit. The amount of the dollar limit remains the same no matter how long, during the year, you have a qualifying person in your household. Use the $3,000 limit if you paid work-related expenses for the care of one qualifying person at any time during the year. Use $6,000 if you paid work-related expenses for the care of more than one qualifying person at any time during the year.
taxmap/pub17/p17-171.htm#en_us_publink1000174443

Reduced Dollar Limit(p225)


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previous topic occurrence Reduced Dollar Limit next topic occurrence

If you received dependent care benefits that you exclude or deduct from your income, you must subtract that amount from the dollar limit that applies to you. Your reduced dollar limit is figured in Part III of Form 2441. See Dependent Care Benefits, earlier, for information on excluding or deducting these benefits.
taxmap/pub17/p17-171.htm#en_us_publink1000174445

Example.(p225)

George is a widower with one child and earns $24,000 a year. He pays work-related expenses of $2,900 for the care of his 4-year-old child and qualifies to claim the credit for child and dependent care expenses. His employer pays an additional $1,000 under a dependent care benefit plan. This $1,000 is excluded from George's income.
Although the dollar limit for his work-related expenses is $3,000 (one qualifying person), George figures his credit on only $2,000 of the $2,900 work-related expenses he paid. This is because his dollar limit is reduced as shown next.
 George's Reduced Dollar Limit
1)Maximum allowable expenses for one qualifying person$3,000
2)Minus: Dependent care benefits George excludes from income −1,000
3)Reduced dollar limit on expenses George can use for the credit $2,000
taxmap/pub17/p17-171.htm#en_us_publink1000174447

Amount of Credit(p225)


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To determine the amount of your credit, multiply your work-related expenses (after applying the earned income and dollar limits) by a percentage. This percentage depends on your adjusted gross income shown on Form 1040, line 38, or Form 1040A, line 22. The following table shows the percentage to use based on adjusted gross income.
  IF your adjusted gross income is: THEN the percentage is:  
   Over   But not over   
  $    0 $15,000 35% 
  15,000 17,000 34% 
  17,000 19,000 33% 
  19,000 21,000 32% 
  21,000 23,000 31% 
  23,000 25,000 30% 
  25,000 27,000 29% 
  27,000 29,000 28% 
  29,000 31,000 27% 
  31,000 33,000 26% 
  33,000 35,000 25% 
  35,000 37,000 24% 
  37,000 39,000 23% 
  39,000 41,000 22% 
  41,000 43,000 21% 
  43,000 No limit 20%