skip navigation

Search Help
Navigation Help

Tax Map Index
ABCDEFGHI
JKLMNOPQR
STUVWXYZ#

International
Tax Topic Index

Affordable Care Act
Tax Topic Index

Forms
Publications

Comments
About Tax Map

IRS.gov Website
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203255
Publication 503

Child and 
Dependent 
Care Expenses

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule

Future Developments(p1)


For the latest information about developments related to Publication 503, such as legislation enacted after it was published, go to www.irs.gov/pub503.

Reminders(p1)


taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203258
Taxpayer identification number needed for each qualifying person.(p1)
You must include on line 2 of Form 2441, Child and Dependent Care Expenses, the name and taxpayer identification number (generally the social security number) of each qualifying person. See Taxpayer identification number under Qualifying Person Test, later.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203259
You may have to pay employment taxes.(p1)
If you pay someone to come to your home and care for your dependent or spouse, you may be a household employer who has to pay employment taxes. Usually, you are not a household employer if the person who cares for your dependent or spouse does so at his or her home or place of business. See Employment Taxes for Household Employers, later.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203260
Photographs of missing children.(p1)
The Internal Revenue Service is a proud partner with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Photographs of missing children selected by the Center may appear in this publication on pages that would otherwise be blank. You can help bring these children home by looking at the photographs and calling 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) if you recognize a child.

taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000272297Introduction

This publication explains the tests you must meet to claim the credit for child and dependent care expenses. It explains how to figure and claim the credit.
You may be able to claim the credit if you pay someone to care for your dependent who is under age 13 or for your spouse or dependent who is not able to care for himself or herself. The credit can be up to 35% of your expenses. To qualify, you must pay these expenses so you can work or look for work.
This publication also discusses some of the employment tax rules for household employers.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203261

Dependent care benefits.(p2)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
If you received any dependent care benefits from your employer during the year, you may be able to exclude from your income all or part of them. You must complete Form 2441, Part III, before you can figure the amount of your credit. See Dependent Care Benefits under How To Figure the Credit, later.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000310041

Comments and suggestions.(p2)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
We welcome your comments about this publication and your suggestions for future editions.
You can write to us at the following address:

Internal Revenue Service
Tax Forms and Publications Division
1111 Constitution Ave. NW, IR-6526
Washington, DC 20224


We respond to many letters by telephone. Therefore, it would be helpful if you would include your daytime phone number, including the area code, in your correspondence.
You can send your comments from www.irs.gov/formspubs/. Click on "More Information" and then on "Comment on Tax Forms and Publications."
Although we cannot respond individually to each comment received, we do appreciate your feedback and will consider your comments as we revise our tax products.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000310042
Ordering forms and publications.(p2)
Visit www.irs.gov/formspubs/ to download forms and publications, call 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676), or write to the address below and receive a response within 10 days after your request is received.

Internal Revenue Service
1201 N. Mitsubishi Motorway
Bloomington, IL 61705-6613


taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000310043
Tax questions.(p2)
If you have a tax question, check the information available on IRS.gov or call 1-800-829-1040. We cannot answer tax questions sent to either of the above addresses.

taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#TXMP0393805a

Useful items

You may want to see:


Publication
 501 Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information
 926 Household Employer's Tax Guide
Form (and Instructions)
 2441: Child and Dependent Care Expenses
 Schedule H (Form 1040): Household Employment Taxes
 W-10: Dependent Care Provider's Identification and Certification
See How To Get Tax Help, near the end of this publication, for information about getting these publications and forms.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203265

Tests To Claim the Credit(p2)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
To be able to claim the credit for child and dependent care expenses, you must file Form 1040, Form 1040A, or Form 1040NR, not Form 1040EZ or Form 1040NR-EZ, and meet all the following tests.
  1. The care must be for one or more qualifying persons who are identified on Form 2441. (See Qualifying Person Test.)
  2. You (and your spouse if filing jointly) must have earned income during the year. (However, see Rule for student-spouse or spouse not able to care for self under Earned Income Test, later.)
  3. You must pay child and dependent care expenses so you (and your spouse if filing jointly) can work or look for work. (See Work-Related Expense Test, later.)
  4. You must make payments for child and dependent care to someone you (and your spouse) cannot claim as a dependent. If you make payments to your child, he or she cannot be your dependent and must be age 19 or older by the end of the year. You cannot make payments to:
    1. Your spouse, or
    2. The parent of your qualifying person if your qualifying person is your child and under age 13.
    See Payments to Relatives or Dependents under Work-Related Expense Test, later.
  5. Your filing status may be single, head of household, or qualifying widow(er) with dependent child. If you are married, you must file a joint return, unless an exception applies to you. See Joint Return Test, later.
  6. You must identify the care provider on your tax return. (See Provider Identification Test, later.)
  7. If you exclude or deduct dependent care benefits provided by a dependent care benefit plan, the total amount you exclude or deduct must be less than the dollar limit for qualifying expenses (generally, $3,000 if one qualifying person was cared for or $6,000 if two or more qualifying persons were cared for). (If two or more qualifying persons were cared for, the amount you exclude or deduct will always be less than the dollar limit, since the total amount you can exclude or deduct is limited to $5,000. See Reduced Dollar Limit under How To Figure the Credit, later.)
These tests are presented in Figure A and are also explained in detail in this publication.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203267

Qualifying Person Test(p3)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
Your child and dependent care expenses must be for the care of one or more qualifying persons.
A qualifying person is:
  1. Your qualifying child who is your dependent and who was under age 13 when the care was provided (but see Child of divorced or separated parents or parents living apart, later),
  2. Your spouse who was not physically or mentally able to care for himself or herself and lived with you for more than half the year, or
  3. A person who was not physically or mentally able to care for himself or herself, lived with you for more than half the year, and either:
    1. Was your dependent, or
    2. Would have been your dependent except that:
      1. He or she received gross income of $3,900 or more,
      2. He or she filed a joint return, or
      3. You, or your spouse if filing jointly, could be claimed as a dependent on someone else's 2013 return.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203270

Dependent defined.(p3)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
A dependent is a person, other than you or your spouse, for whom you can claim an exemption. To be your dependent, a person must be your qualifying child (or your qualifying relative).
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203271
Qualifying child.(p3)
To be your qualifying child, a child must live with you for more than half the year and meet other requirements.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203272
More information.(p3)
For more information about who is a dependent or a qualifying child, see Publication 501.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203273

Physically or mentally not able to care for oneself.(p3)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
Persons who cannot dress, clean, or feed themselves because of physical or mental problems are considered not able to care for themselves. Also, persons who must have constant attention to prevent them from injuring themselves or others are considered not able to care for themselves.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203274

Person qualifying for part of year.(p3)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
You determine a person's qualifying status each day. For example, if the person for whom you pay child and dependent care expenses no longer qualifies on September 16, count only those expenses through September 15. Also see Yearly limit under Dollar Limit, later.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203275

Birth or death of otherwise qualifying person.(p3)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
In determining whether a person is a qualifying person, a person who was born or died in 2013 is treated as having lived with you for more than half of 2013 if your home was the person's home more than half the time he or she was alive in 2013.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203276

Taxpayer identification number.(p3)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
You must include on your return the name and taxpayer identification number (generally the social security number) of the qualifying person(s). If the correct information is not shown, the credit may be reduced or disallowed.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203277
Individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) for aliens.(p3)
If your qualifying person is a nonresident or resident alien who does not have and cannot get a social security number (SSN), use that person's ITIN. The ITIN is entered wherever an SSN is requested on a tax return. If the alien does not have an ITIN, he or she must apply for one. See Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, for details.
An ITIN is for tax use only. It does not entitle the holder to social security benefits or change the holder's employment or immigration status under U.S. law.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203278
Adoption taxpayer identification number (ATIN).(p3)
If your qualifying person is a child who was placed in your home for adoption and for whom you do not have an SSN, you must get an ATIN for the child. File Form W-7A, Application for Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203279

Child of divorced or separated parents or parents living apart.(p3)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
Even if you cannot claim your child as a dependent, he or she is treated as your qualifying person if:
The custodial parent is the parent with whom the child lived for the greater number of nights in 2013. If the child was with each parent for an equal number of nights, the custodial parent is the parent with the higher adjusted gross income. For details and an exception for a parent who works at night, see Publication 501.
The noncustodial parent cannot treat the child as a qualifying person 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.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000309903
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203280

Earned Income Test(p5)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
To claim the credit, you (and your spouse if filing jointly) must have earned income during the year.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203281

Earned income.(p5)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
Earned income includes wages, salaries, tips, other taxable employee compensation, and net earnings from self-employment. A net loss from self-employment reduces earned income. Earned income also includes strike benefits and any disability pay you report as wages.
Generally, only taxable compensation is included. However, you can elect to include nontaxable combat pay in earned income. If you are filing a joint return and both you and your spouse received nontaxable combat pay, you can each make your own election. (In other words, if one of you makes the election, the other one can also make it but does not have to.) Including this income will give you a larger credit only if your (or your spouse's) other earned income is less than the amount entered on line 3 of Form 2441. You should figure your credit both ways and make the election if it gives you a greater tax benefit.
Deposit
You can choose to include your nontaxable combat pay in earned income when figuring your credit for child and dependent care expenses, even if you choose not to include it in earned income for the earned income credit or the exclusion or deduction for dependent care benefits.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203283

Members of certain religious faiths opposed to social security.(p5)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
This section is for persons who are members of certain religious faiths that are opposed to participation in Social Security Act programs and have an IRS-approved form that exempts certain income from social security and Medicare taxes. These forms are:
Each form is discussed here in terms of what is or is not earned income for purposes of the child and dependent care credit. For information on the use of these forms, see Publication 517, Social Security and Other Information for Members of the Clergy and Religious Workers.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203284
Form 4361.(p5)
Whether or not you have an approved Form 4361, amounts you received for performing ministerial duties as an employee are earned income. This includes wages, salaries, tips, and other taxable employee compensation.
However, amounts you received for ministerial duties, but not as an employee, do not count as earned income. Examples include fees for performing marriages and honoraria for delivering speeches.
Any amount you received for work that is not related to your ministerial duties is earned income.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203285
Form 4029.(p5)
Whether or not you have an approved Form 4029, all wages, salaries, tips, and other taxable employee compensation are earned income.
However, amounts you received as a self-employed individual do not count as earned income.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203286

What is not earned income?(p5)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
Earned income does not include:
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203287

Rule for student-spouse or spouse not able to care for self.(p5)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
Your spouse is treated as having earned income for any month that he or she is:
  1. A full-time student, or
  2. Physically or mentally not able to care for himself or herself. (Your spouse also must live with you for more than half the year.)
If you are filing a joint return, this rule also applies to you. You can be treated as having earned income for any month you are a full-time student or not able to care for yourself.
Figure the earned income of the nonworking spouse, described under (1) or (2) above, as shown under Earned Income Limit under How To Figure the Credit, later.
This rule applies to only one spouse for any one month. If, in the same month, both you and your spouse do not work and are either full-time students or not physically or mentally able to care for yourselves, only one of you can be treated as having earned income in that month.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203288
Full-time student.(p5)
You are a full-time student if you are enrolled at a school for the number of hours or classes that the school considers full time. You must have been a full-time student for some part of each of 5 calendar months during the year. (The months need not be consecutive.)
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203289
School.(p5)
The term "school" includes high schools, colleges, universities, and technical, trade, and mechanical schools. A school does not include an on-the-job training course, correspondence school, or school offering courses only through the Internet.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203291

Work-Related Expense Test(p6)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
Child and dependent care expenses must be work-related to qualify for the credit. Expenses are considered work-related only if both of the following are true.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203292

Working or Looking for Work(p6)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
To be work-related, your expenses must allow you to work or look for work. If you are married, generally both you and your spouse must work or look for work. One spouse is treated as working during any month he or she is a full-time student or is not physically or mentally able to care for himself or herself.
Your work can be for others or in your own business or partnership. It can be either full time or part time.
Work also includes actively looking for work. However, if you do not find a job and have no earned income for the year, you cannot take this credit. See Earned Income Test, earlier.
An expense is not considered work-related merely because you had it while you were working. The purpose of the expense must be to allow you to work. Whether your expenses allow you to work or look for work depends on the facts.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203293

Example 1.(p6)

The cost of a babysitter while you and your spouse go out to eat is not normally a work-related expense.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203294

Example 2.(p6)

You work during the day. Your spouse works at night and sleeps during the day. You pay for care of your 5-year-old child during the hours when you are working and your spouse is sleeping. Your expenses are considered work-related.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203295

Volunteer work.(p6)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
For this purpose, you are not considered to be working if you do unpaid volunteer work or volunteer work for a nominal salary.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203296

Work for part of year.(p6)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
If you work or actively look for work during only part of the period covered by the expenses, then you must figure your expenses for each day. For example, if you work all year and pay care expenses of $250 a month ($3,000 for the year), all the expenses are work related. However, if you work or look for work for only 2 months and 15 days during the year and pay expenses of $250 a month, your work-related expenses are limited to $625 (21/2 months × $250).
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203297

Temporary absence from work.(p6)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
You do not have to figure your expenses for each day during a short, temporary absence from work, such as for vacation or a minor illness, if you have to pay for care anyway. Instead, you can figure your credit including the expenses you paid for the period of absence.
An absence of 2 weeks or less is a short, temporary absence. An absence of more than 2 weeks may be considered a short, temporary absence, depending on the circumstances.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203298

Example.(p6)

You pay a nanny to care for your 2-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter so you can work. You become ill and miss 4 months of work but receive sick pay. You continue to pay the nanny to care for the children while you are ill. Your absence is not a short, temporary absence, and your expenses are not considered work-related.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203299

Part-time work.(p6)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
If you work part-time, you generally must figure your expenses for each day. However, if you have to pay for care weekly, monthly, or in another way that includes both days worked and days not worked, you can figure your credit including the expenses you paid for days you did not work. Any day when you work at least 1 hour is a day of work.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203300

Example 1.(p6)

You work 3 days a week. While you work, your 6-year-old child attends a dependent care center, which complies with all state and local regulations. You can pay the center $150 for any 3 days a week or $250 for 5 days a week. Your child attends the center 5 days a week. Your work-related expenses are limited to $150 a week.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203301

Example 2.(p6)

The facts are the same as in Example 1 except the center does not offer a 3-day option. The entire $250 weekly fee may be a work-related expense.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203302

Care of a Qualifying Person(p6)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
To be work-related, your expenses must be to provide care for a qualifying person.
You do not have to choose the least expensive way of providing the care. The cost of a paid care provider may be an expense for the care of a qualifying person even if another care provider is available at no cost.
Expenses are for the care of a qualifying person only if their main purpose is the person's well-being and protection.
Expenses for household services qualify if part of the services is for the care of qualifying persons. See Household Services, later.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203303

Expenses not for care.(p6)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
Expenses for care do not include amounts you pay for food, lodging, clothing, education, and entertainment. However, you can include small amounts paid for these items if they are incidental to and cannot be separated from the cost of caring for the qualifying person. Otherwise, see the discussion of Expenses partly work-related, later.
Child support payments are not for care and do not qualify for the credit.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203304

Education.(p6)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
Expenses for a child in nursery school, preschool, or similar programs for children below the level of kindergarten are expenses for care.
Expenses to attend kindergarten or a higher grade are not expenses for care. Do not use these expenses to figure your credit.
However, expenses for before- or after-school care of a child in kindergarten or a higher grade may be expenses for care.
Summer school and tutoring programs are not for care.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203305

Example 1.(p7)

You take your 3-year-old child to a nursery school that provides lunch and a few educational activities as part of its preschool childcare service. The lunch and educational activities are incidental to the childcare, and their cost cannot be separated from the cost of care. You can count the total cost when you figure the credit.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203306

Example 2.(p7)

You place your 10-year-old child in a boarding school so you can work full time. Only the part of the boarding school expense that is for the care of your child is a work-related expense. You can count that part of the expense in figuring your credit if it can be separated from the cost of education. You cannot count any part of the amount you pay the school for your child's education.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203307

Care outside your home.(p7)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
You can count the cost of care provided outside your home if the care is for your dependent under age 13 or any other qualifying person who regularly spends at least 8 hours each day in your home.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203308
Dependent care center.(p7)
You can count care provided outside your home by a dependent care center only if the center complies with all state and local regulations that apply to these centers.
A dependent care center is a place that provides care for more than six persons (other than persons who live there) and receives a fee, payment, or grant for providing services for any of those persons, even if the center is not run for profit.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203309
Camp.(p7)
The cost of sending your child to an overnight camp is not considered a work-related expense.
The cost of sending your child to a day camp may be a work-related expense, even if the camp specializes in a particular activity, such as computers or soccer.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203310

Transportation.(p7)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
If a care provider takes a qualifying person to or from a place where care is provided, that transportation is for the care of the qualifying person. This includes transportation by bus, subway, taxi, or private car. However, transportation not provided by a care provider is not for the care of a qualifying person. Also, if you pay the transportation cost for the care provider to come to your home, that expense is not for care of a qualifying person.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203311

Fees and deposits.(p7)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
Fees you paid to an agency to get the services of a care provider, deposits you paid to an agency or preschool, application fees, and other indirect expenses are work-related expenses if you have to pay them to get care, even though they are not directly for care. However, a forfeited deposit is not for the care of a qualifying person if care is not provided.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203312

Example 1.(p7)

You paid a fee to an agency to get the services of the nanny who cares for your 2-year-old daughter while you work. The fee you paid is a work-related expense.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203313

Example 2.(p7)

You placed a deposit with a preschool to reserve a place for your 3-year-old child. You later sent your child to a different preschool and forfeited the deposit. The forfeited deposit is not for care and so is not a work-related expense.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203314

Household Services(p7)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
Expenses you pay for household services meet the work-related expense test if they are at least partly for the well-being and protection of a qualifying person.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203315

Definition.(p7)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
Household services are ordinary and usual services done in and around your home that are necessary to run your home. They include the services of a housekeeper, maid, or cook. However, they do not include the services of a chauffeur, bartender, or gardener.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203316
Housekeeper.(p7)
In this publication, the term housekeeper refers to any household employee whose services include the care of a qualifying person.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203317

Expenses partly work-related.(p7)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
If part of an expense is work-related (for either household services or the care of a qualifying person) and part is for other purposes, you have to divide the expense. To figure your credit, count only the part that is work-related. However, you do not have to divide the expense if only a small part is for other purposes.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203318

Example.(p7)

You pay a housekeeper to care for your 9-year-old and 15-year-old children so you can work. The housekeeper spends most of the time doing normal household work and spends 30 minutes a day driving you to and from work. You do not have to divide the expenses. You can treat the entire expense of the housekeeper as work-related because the time spent driving is minimal. Nor do you have to divide the expenses between the two children, even though the expenses are partly for the 15-year-old child who is not a qualifying person, because the expense is also partly for the care of your 9-year-old child, who is a qualifying person. However, the dollar limit (discussed later) is based on one qualifying person, not two.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203319

Meals and lodging provided for housekeeper.(p7)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
If you have expenses for meals that your housekeeper eats in your home because of his or her employment, count these as work-related expenses. If you have extra expenses for providing lodging in your home to the housekeeper, count these as work-related expenses also.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203320

Example.(p7)

To provide lodging to the housekeeper, you move to an apartment with an extra bedroom. You can count the extra rent and utility expenses for the housekeeper's bedroom as work-related. However, if your housekeeper moves into an existing bedroom in your home, you can count only the extra utility expenses as work-related.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203321

Taxes paid on wages.(p8)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
The taxes you pay on wages for qualifying child and dependent care services are work-related expenses. For more information on a household employer's tax responsibilities, see Employment Taxes for Household Employers, later.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203322

Payments to Relatives or Dependents(p8)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
You can count work-related payments you make to relatives who are not your dependents, even if they live in your home. However, do not count any amounts you pay to:
  1. A dependent for whom you (or your spouse if filing jointly) can claim an exemption,
  2. Your child who was under age 19 at the end of the year, even if he or she is not your dependent,
  3. A person who was your spouse any time during the year, or
  4. The parent of your qualifying person if your qualifying person is your child and under age 13.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203323

Joint Return Test(p8)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
Generally, married couples must file a joint return to take the credit. However, if you are legally separated or living apart from your spouse, you may be able to file a separate return and still take the credit.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203324

Legally separated.(p8)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
You are not considered married if you are legally separated from your spouse under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance. You may be eligible to take the credit on your return using head of household filing status.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203325

Married and living apart.(p8)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
You are not considered married and are eligible to take the credit if all the following apply.
  1. You file a return apart from your spouse.
  2. Your home is the home of a qualifying person for more than half the year.
  3. You pay more than half the cost of keeping up your home for the year.
  4. Your spouse does not live in your home for the last 6 months of the year.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203326
Costs of keeping up a home.(p8)
The costs of keeping up a home normally include property taxes, mortgage interest, rent, utility charges, home repairs, insurance on the home, and food eaten at home.
The costs of keeping up a home do not include payments for clothing, education, medical treatment, vacations, life insurance, transportation, or mortgage principal.
They also do not include the purchase, permanent improvement, or replacement of property. For example, you cannot include the cost of replacing a water heater. However, you can include the cost of repairing a water heater.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203327

Death of spouse.(p8)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
If your spouse died during the year and you do not remarry before the end of the year, you generally must file a joint return to take the credit. If you do remarry before the end of the year, the credit can be claimed on your deceased spouse's own return.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203328

Provider Identification Test(p8)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
You must identify all persons or organizations that provide care for your child or dependent. Use Form 2441, Part I, to show the information.
If you do not have any care providers and you are filing Form 2441 only to report taxable income in Part III, enter "none" in line 1, column (a).
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203329

Information needed.(p8)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
To identify the care provider, you must give the provider's:
  1. Name,
  2. Address, and
  3. Taxpayer identification number.
If the care provider is an individual, the taxpayer identification number is his or her social security number or individual taxpayer identification number. If the care provider is an organization, then it is the employer identification number (EIN).
You do not have to show the taxpayer identification number if the care provider is a tax-exempt organization (such as a church or school). In this case, enter "Tax-Exempt" in the space where Form 2441 asks for the number.
If you cannot provide all of the information or the information is incorrect, you must be able to show that you used due diligence (discussed later) in trying to furnish the necessary information.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203330

Getting the information.(p8)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
You can use Form W-10, Dependent Care Provider's Identification and Certification, to request the required information from the care provider. If you do not use Form W-10, you can get the information from one of the other sources listed in the instructions for Form W-10, including:
  1. A copy of the provider's social security card,
  2. A copy of the provider's completed Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate, if he or she is your household employee,
  3. A copy of the statement furnished by your employer if the provider is your employer's dependent care plan, or
  4. A letter or invoice from the provider if it shows the necessary information.
Where Refund
You should keep this information with your tax records. Do not send Form W-10 (or other document containing this information) to the Internal Revenue Service.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203332

Due diligence.(p8)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
If the care provider information you give is incorrect or incomplete, your credit may not be allowed. However, if you can show that you used due diligence in trying to supply the information, you can still claim the credit.
You can show due diligence by getting and keeping the provider's completed Form W-10 or one of the other sources of information just listed. Care providers can be penalized if they do not provide this information to you or if they provide incorrect information.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203333
Provider refusal.(p9)
If the provider refuses to give you the identifying information, you should report on Form 2441 whatever information you have (such as the name and address). Enter "See Attached Statement" in the columns calling for the information you do not have. Then attach a statement explaining that you requested the information from the care provider, but the provider did not give you the information. Be sure to write your name and social security number on this statement. The statement will show that you used due diligence in trying to furnish the necessary information.
taxmap/pubs/p503-000.htm#en_us_publink1000203334

U.S. citizens and resident aliens living abroad.(p9)

For Use in Tax Year 2013
rule
If you are living abroad, your care provider may not have, and may not be required to get, a U.S. taxpayer identification number (for example, an SSN or an EIN). If so, enter "LAFCP" (Living Abroad Foreign Care Provider) in the space for the care provider's taxpayer identification number.