Child Care Expenses Tax Credit For 2018

Important: You can no longer e-File a 2018 Federal or state income tax return. Before you complete the 2018 Tax Forms, calculate if you are eligible for the 2018 Child Care Expense Tax Credit. You can complete and sign 2018 Tax Forms on with an online editor. Then download, print, and mail in the forms.

Access and use other 2018 Tax Calculators that will help you complete your 2018 Taxes. The information below applies only to the 2018 individual income tax return.

Tax Credit for Childcare

If you paid someone during 2018 to care for your child, dependent, or spouse so you could work, look for work, go to school, or because of a disability, then the Child and Dependent Care Credit may be for you.

You will generally qualify for the 2018 Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit if you meet all of the following conditions:

  • You must have earned income (such as wages from a job). If you are married and filing a joint tax return, your spouse must also have earned income. You (and your spouse if Married Filing Jointly) earned income from employment or self-employment. You are exempt from this requirement if you were a full-time student or disabled.
  • Your filing status is Single, Married Filing Jointly, Head of Household, or Qualifying Widow(er) with a Dependent Child.
  • You paid someone to provide care for a Qualifying Person and the care provider was not someone you could claim as a dependent, the parent of your Qualifying Person, your spouse, or your child under the age of 19 (regardless of whether they are a dependent).
  • You had to pay for child or dependent care so that you (and your spouse if Married Filing Jointly) could work, seek employment, attend school, or if you were disabled.
  • Important: The cost of sending kids to day camp in the summer counts toward the Child and Dependent Care Credit. Overnight camps don't count. See details on summertime and taxes, such as summer camp and ways to save money.

Use the tool below to find out if are you able to claim on Child and Dependent Care Credit for 2018.

2018 CAREucatorStart Over
Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit

Was the care for one or more IRS qualifying persons?

Who Is a Qualifying Person?

A Qualifying Person for the Child and Dependent Care Credit can be either of the following:

  • Any child who is your dependent and was under age 13 when the care was provided, or
  • Your spouse or dependent age 13 or over, if physically or mentally incapable of caring for themselves.

In addition, the Qualifying Person must have lived with you for more than half of the year. There are exceptions for a Qualifying Person who was born or died during the year and for a child of divorced or separated parents.

How Much Is the Child and Dependent Care Credit?

  • The Child and Dependent Care Credit can be worth up to $2,100 as a nonrefundable tax credit for 2018.
  • The credit amount is calculated from 20% to 35% of some or all of the dependent care expenses you paid. The percentage you use depends on your income. If your income is below $15,000, you will qualify for the full 35%. The percentage falls by 1% for every additional $2,000 of income until it reaches 20% (for an income of $43,000 or more).
  • The 20%-35% is taken from up to $3,000 of expenses paid for one Qualifying Person, or from up to $6,000 of expenses paid for two or more Qualifying Persons. Therefore, the maximum Child and Dependent Care Credit is worth $2,100 (based on 2 or more dependents and $6,000 or more of qualifying expenses).
    • This is a nonrefundable credit, meaning it will not be part of your tax refund, which has expired for 2018 Returns. Don't let your refund expire - prepare your taxes online each year and claim the money that is rightfully yours.
  • Before figuring the credit, you must reduce your qualifying expenses by any amount of child or dependent care benefits that were provided by your employer and that you deducted or excluded from your income.
  • The Child and Dependent Care Credit is not refundable, so it is not worth anything if you owe no income tax.

Learn more in Publication 503 - Child and Dependent Care Expenses.

How to Claim the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit makes it easy for you to claim the Child and Dependent Care Credit on your current tax return online. We will pick out this form for you and help you fill it in. Your completed return will then include the Form 2441 - eFileIT -  for Child and Dependent Care Expenses. For your 2018 Return, use this form, fill it in, and mail it with your tax return - FileIT.

When you provide the information for the credit, you must include the Social Security Number (SSN) of each qualifying person in order to claim the credit. Also include the name, address, and SSN or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) of your child or dependent care provider.

What to Do If Someone Claimed Your Dependent

A Qualifying Person for the Child and Dependent Care Credit may only be claimed on one tax return. If a dependent is claimed on more than one tax return (for example, a child is claimed by both divorced parents), then the IRS will apply a set of tiebreaker rules to see who gets to claim the dependent.

Learn more about the dependent tiebreaker rules and who gets to claim a child as a dependent.

See what other tax credits and tax deductions may be available to you.