Seeking Preschool Advice and Tax Credit?

Updated on October 03, 2007
T.D. asks from Cincinnati, OH
22 answers

Hello all. I am trying to figure out how in the world I am going to be able to afford and additional $320-$400 dollars to send my son to pre-school. That's only two days a week! My son is 4 and my daughter is 19 months-they currently go to a kid a sitter 2-3 days now and she charges $30 a day for both of them. I think this is definitely reasonable but she doesn't claim her taxes so the childcare credit does not apply to me. What kind of percentage or credit do you get for the childcare credit? Is it worth me looking into changing daycares? So now to add an additional expense, I just don't think I can afford it. I know it would be good for him and my heart is breaking trying to figure this out because I want him to have a good education. Part of what also gets me is that there are so many head-start programs out there but you have to qualify. Well I barely make $30,000 a year and that's with OT. After all the house bills, etc there is nothing left. Now I have never " abused the system "personally. But I know of several people that get medacaid, daycare assistance etc and make more $$ than I do. Some do not even work so of course they qualify and can take there kids for free and go back home once the kids are in school. Now I am not downing the people that really need to use the system, but it has never worked for me when I needed it.
Has anyone been faced with this situation before? Is there anything that I can do at home to prepare him for Kindergarten? He is very smart. He has know his primary colors since he was one. He know his ABC's, counts to 10 +, knows shapes and so much more. I really wanted him to attend preschool and he wants to go to school. I just don't know what to do.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Thank you all for your support and advice! I truly appreciate it-keep it coming :-) I do not want to get my sitter in trouble-she is truly good to the kids and loves them and her prices are very reasonable. If anyone knows of a pre-school class around MT-Healthy, North College Hill, Finneytown, or Wyoming please give me their names and #'s. Everywhere I have called is full time. I am still searching-not giving up.
Thanks again

Featured Answers

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.G.

answers from Cleveland on

Hi T.,

I have information on an organization that can assist households with daycare that will normally not qualify. The income guidelines were raised to help these families. They will even send you a list of centers that you can look into.

The name of the company is Starting Point and the phone number is ###-###-#### ext 231.

Try them out and see where you get!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.R.

answers from Toledo on

Are you in the Toledo area? Are you looking for a full time day care or just a preK/Kindergarten? You should make multiple calls to see if there is a location that will work with you on payments and discounts. My husband an I are in the same situation money-wise. We make just enough to cover the bills, but not much more! My eldest is in PreK now and her monthly payment is $200 for 5 days a week half days ($280/mo for 5 days full time for 4 yr olds)!! We were paying $80/mo last year for 3 half days.

More Answers

J.F.

answers from Cleveland on

Hi, I'm a licensed in-home provider and after reading this I have to say that YES your child care tax credit is definitely worth looking into changing daycares. Not only that, what your provider is doing is illegal and she's taking a huge risk by providing a service like this under the table. What many people don't know is that even if your provider is not claiming her taxes YOU can still claim her! Hopefully you are not paying her in Cash and if you are, either start getting a receipt or paying in some other fashion where you can prove the payments. She legally cannot refuse to give you the info you need to get your child care tax credit. $30 a day for 2 children is super super cheap. My suggestion to you is to seek a better daycare arrangement in-home where the provider does a formal preschool program. Most inhomes such as myself start our preschool programs in September. You'll pay more for daycare weekly BUT you would be providing your son with the preschool experience you want and it will end up cheaper than a cheap daycare PLUS preschool know what I mean? And you'll get a nice tax credit every year. A legit daycare will pay taxes just like you do. Hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.C.

answers from Cleveland on

Hi T.,

I also recently looked into the childcare tax credit. The most credit that can be received is $3000 for one child and $6000 for two children. However, it is not that simple. The credit is adjusted depending on your adjusted gross income (AGI). If your AGI is less than $15,000, the credit is 35% of your costs. For taxpayers with AGI greater than $15,000, the credit is reduced by 1% point for each $2000 of AGI over the $15000. The minimum percentage is 20% for taxpayers with AGI over $43,000. In this instance, the maximum childcare credit for one child is $1,050 and $2,100 for two. I know this is a bit confusing. I am a Certified Public Accountant and I still had to walk myself through the calculation to see if it made sense for my family. Here is an example: A man pays a woman $3000 to come to his home to take care of his 10 year old daughter. For 2006, his AGI was $25,000. Since there is only one child, the maximum credit he can claim is $900 (30% of $3,000). Please also keep in mind that the credit can generally only be taken if both spouses work and they file a joint tax return at the end of the year. If you go to the IRS.gov website, you will find all of the rules and regulations, but the above are the basics. I hope this helps.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

T.

answers from Columbus on

My kids go to a church pre-school, 2 hrs a day twice a week. It only costs $98 a month. something like that would be good for your son, but would not replace the current sitter you have. $30 a day for two kids is cheep, it will be very hard to find an alternative that is that reasonable, but if they are only there part time, maybe he could do pre-school on the other days. If not, teach him his name, how to spell it first and last, phone #, address, practice writing his ABC's, and cutting out shapes. I think pre-school is great, but if you can't make it work for you, just working with him will be enough.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.P.

answers from Dayton on

T.,
What about having their father pay for his preschool? Seems more fair enough. You are paying for everything else. ;-(

Hope he gets to go.. Also he doesn't HAVE to go.. but it would make transition into kindergarten easier.

take care,
Kathy

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

B.A.

answers from Cleveland on

You are getting a great deal for your childcare! If your children are happy and you are happy, I would ask myself if it was worth the anxiety and disruption to the kids all for a tax credit? That is a personal choice.

Preschool is also a personal choice. I am a reading specialist in the public schools myself and do not plan on sending any of my children to preschool. It isn't a necesary experience. Read to your children daily. Work on letter recognition (start with capital letters and then move to lowercase) with your kids. Be sure they can write their first name (or nickname). Those are all skills you can do at home! And in fact, by taking time to work on these things at home, you are teaching them that you value education and learning and that you don't need to just think about these things at school - they are daily experiences. And playdates and neighborhood kids, not to mention brother sister realtionships all foster socialization skills!

If you can't afford it, don't beat yourself up over it. Just remember that your goal as a mother should be to raise happy, healthy kids who are secure with themselves (sounds like you are doing a great job!)... not to save money and keep up with the Jones.

Just my thoughts...

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.R.

answers from Columbus on

Sorry I can't help much with the tax credit question and all. I don't know much about that. My husband and I do have a home based business, if you would be interested we would love to meet you and talk to you about it. Maybe it could help ease some of the financial strain for you. [email protected]____.com

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

D.M.

answers from Columbus on

First of all, Yes 150/wk for babysitting is very reasonable, though it is against the law for the baby sitter not to claim the money on her tax return. There is a very high likelyhood with the amount of money she is earning she will be able to write most of it off, and may even help her on her own tax return with earned income. You personally filing your taxes are entitled to approximately a 27% tax break on the money you paid for child care expenses. Which would come after your tax, so for example, the maximum is $3000 per child, so you would claim $6000, that would give you $1620 off of your taxes and then you would be able to claim a child tax credit for each child to the point of wiping out any tax, the balance then would be put into an additional child tax credit for which is refundable.

Also I am sure the reason you do not qualify for assistance is because of your living situation, any government agency is going to take not only your income into account, but also your boyfriends, which enevitably will hurt you in the long run. I completely understand your sentiment, as we have always just missed getting assistance by only a few dollars, and have other family members whom make just a little less, but end up with huge tax breaks, and loads of government freebies, and when you add that into the equation, the few extra dollars a week we make, actually ends up hurting us by thousands every year. In our city they have some preschools at local churches which will work with you on the money, and are usually much more reasonable. Also I understand that Head Start takes several over income students every year, so you may want to apply anyway. I wish you tons of luck!!!!!!!!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.D.

answers from Dayton on

I don't know if you are married or not but if you are not I think you should definitely look into getting assitance for your childcare. That is what it is outthere for. Anyone who doesnt work can't receive childcare. You have to work to qualify for it. I made $30,000 a year with two kids and I got it. My kids go to the YMCA and I paid $200 a month for daycare. My 4yr old qualified for ELI which is like a preschool program and my 9yr old goes to school but is there in the morning and they bus him to school and they pick him up after school. I could send my 4yr old to a preschool at one of the elementaries and they would pick him up there to for either morning or afternoon sessions but I think I have to pay extra for the preschool and I couldn't afford that so the YMCA has a Pre-K that he attends. Now I did get a raise and I make $32,000 a year so I lost my assitance. So I am working on that issue. Daycare is so expensive and that is why the assistance is out there. For people who make not enough to pay for it on their own. I do get the child care tax credit as well even with assitance because you are paying a portion. What you pay into your daycare each year depends on how much you'll get back so I can't really tell you. I know that I claimed 5 on my W-2 last year so they wouldn't take out as much taxes from each paycheck I got, I received assistance for daycare and I got back on my income tax return at least $4000 something. I probably would have gotten more but I claimed 5. I live check to check so I needed it. If you receive child support though know that the state assistance will use that as an extra income that you make. So if you make $30,000 and get child support you'll have to include the amount to your $30,000.00 The assistance worked for me because I don't receive child support so this helped alot. I don't qualify for anything else though. I think you may qualify for WIC. I know that down in KY you could be on WIC until your child turned 5. On WIC they give voulchers for milk, cereal, beans, rice, peanut butter, eggs. I think stuff from the 4main food groups. It may have changed though and I don't know how WIC in OH works. I only know how the childcare assitance works. Hope this helps.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.H.

answers from Dayton on

hi. i can almost speak from both sides of things here. first, i babysat for 27 years, and never claimed anything. there was only 2 times that i can think of that the parents claimed it on theirs. there was some sort of amount that they could claim without me claiming it.

next, i have 5 kids. none attended preschool. they are 27 years to 7 1/2 years presently. all did fine in school, and my 7 1/2 yr old is one of the best in her class. i do hope it stays that way. your child sounds like they are doing great with the age they are. some kids going through preschool, are maxed out by the time they reach kindergarten and actually get bored. i am not saying all, but i do know several that that has happened to.

i hope you get more opinions sent your way to help you in making your decision. take care, and good luck.

C.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.S.

answers from Lima on

Even if you are over income, there is still a chance your child can attend Headstart. My five year old went for two years (he is heading off to Kindegarten this year) and the program did wonders for him. We qualified at the time. Now we are over income and do not qualify. However, if a certain site does not fill up with the lower income children, they start accepting those children that are over income. My three year old will be attending the same program this year, even tho we do not qualify.
My sitter does not claim her income on her taxes and it does kinda stink that I can't. But my kids are happy, and I don't believe the credits are enought to justify paying hundreds extra per month. I pay $25 a day for both kids, that is cheap in my area, and again, my boys are conten.
I wanted my children to get all the education they could as early as they could, but I agree with my sitter now. They are only young once, let them play. If you drill them with too much knowledge and education, they will not like school and will have trouble for the next 12+ years. I do believe in teaching them what they need to know to prepare for the big K, but letting them just play teaches them alot too!!!
By knowing his shapes, colors, counting to 10 and knowing ABC's, he should be ready.
Check into your local headstart program and ask if there are any openings for over income families, you might get lucky.

None of these life changing decisions are easy for us, go with your gut and what your pocket can afford and GOOD LUCK!!!!!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.Y.

answers from Cincinnati on

Hello, I know how you feel. I have a two year old that I am sending to preschool already because I feel like I am not giving her enough. She comes to work with me because my husband went back to school and obviously money is extremely tight right now with his income dropping so much. I found a place that is wonderful and extremely well priced at 145 a month for three part time days. It is called Winnie the Pooh Preschool but I think it is only in my area(Cincinnati, Ohio) I would just do what I did and search search search the internet. It took a lot of calls and tons of gasps at prices till I found this place. I just went to her open house and I can't wait for her first day. She is a very smart girl but like you I want her to learn more than she would learn if I sent her to a day care and since I dont have to do that, I would rather not. She just doesnt get full on attention here at work. Good luck and I hope you live near Anderson or Eastgate because they have openings!!!! Still it will be more money for a whole day like you need, unless your daycare provider could pick him up mid day????

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.K.

answers from Cleveland on

To start with, never choose a day care person if you can't claim taxes. I have the option of choosing between a public preschool and a private one. The private one for 3 days a week costs 80 a month. That's for about 2.5 hours a day that she goes. The other option is that you look at the school system to find out if you can enroll the child in a preschool program, many times they will have one available for a small fee, about 100 a month. If your sitter already transports the child to preschool I woul suggest changing the preschool. Also be open with your sitter, If you can't claim it on your taxes, try to negotiate the price a bit, if she wouldn't budge, then leave. But make sure that when you file for taxes, put her information down, chances are that the government can track her down and then you can still get the credit.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.M.

answers from Columbus on

We were in a similiar situation when our twins were 3. Ultimately, we decided to not to send them to preschool and work with them at home. I purchased workbooks, flash cards, and other materials at Walmart, Meijer, and Holcombs. We would schedule an hour a day to work with them and reinforced the lessons using daily play. For example, we worked on numbers from 10-20 int he workbook and counted steps as we walked up and down different staircases. Eventually, it got to the point where my daughters would count in English up the stairs and count in Spanish when they walked down the stairs.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

T.S.

answers from Toledo on

Hi T.! I am faced with the very same situation. I can't send my 4yr old son to preschool because, I dont qualify and I would have to pay $200 a month. I simply can't afford that. My children right now do not have insurance, Nor do I have any way to get it for them but yet, my husband and I make too much to get help with that. It sickens me ALOT. We are hard working, honest people and we can't get the right help. I think it's sad that soo many people are without healthcare and the state doesn't want to do a damn thing about it. They need to start looking at what bills you have to provide your family with the things they need, instead of what you gross. Or at least look at what you net. What you gross, you dont bring home so I dont really understand why they go by that!!! if you can't afford preschool, ask teh babysitter if she would try and do a lil bit of stuff with him. I know I used to when I watched kids at my home. The tax credit is not all that great either. I claimed it a few years back and .. we hardly got $500 credit for paying for daycare all year long. Hope this helps you some!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.M.

answers from Columbus on

Wow! I had no idea pre-school was that expensive as I haven't reached that point yet...

Our sitter doesn't claim the income we give her, either but I don't think as cheap as she is it would make sense to pay out all the extra money for the tax credit. You'd really have to look at the amounts, but in your case I'd say you might be better off without it.

As far as pre-school goes, it's not a requirement and I know of MANY children that don't go & they do just fine. The social skills they learn outside of pre-school are just as valuable and as long as he keeps up on what he already knows, I'd say your son is already ahead of the game in comparison to some kids.

My best friend's mom held a "pre-school" class out of her home, which I attended a long time ago :), for the neighborhood kids. She's a teacher anyway, but maybe you could find something like that in your area. Maybe check the classifieds?

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.B.

answers from Cincinnati on

Will your sitter drive them to and from preschool for an extra charge? I mean if you gave her a little more money could she. The reason I am asking is I only pay $25 a day for the preschool I send my son and it's 3 days a week from 730-530, but it's much cheaper if you send them half days. I have found places as low as $35 a week for preschool if you go 3 days a week from like 9a to noon. They are equally, possibly even better, than the all day places and a lot less expensive. But it would not work if your sitter is not willing to drive to and from.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.W.

answers from Columbus on

wow only $30 a day for both kids that is very cheap!!!! I am not sure where you live but I pay $30/child/day. She does claim taxes on this income which is why she is so expensive. I am sure if you daycare provider would claim taxes on the money the price would go up for it to be worth her time. I know leagly she can make so much a year without claiming taxes on it. If I could find someone that my children love and was reasonably priced I would never change.

As for the preschool thing I would try looking around, my son went to a Child Care Unlimited preschool last year that was at a church near my house and I absolutely loved it!! He learned so much and they did so much with the kids. I only paid $105 a month and you will be able to claim the schooling on your taxes.

I don't know if this will help you any but I thought I should share my opnion!!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.B.

answers from Columbus on

if you switch sitters you will be running into two problems. The first being that you will never find anyone that cheep to watch your kids, the tax refund will never get you as low as what you are paying outright now. Also you normally won't be able to find someone that will do part time with your children. Most daycares or child care givers want full time so that they are well worth their money. With reguards to preschool, the prices that you listed are outrageous! Most churches and the WMCA only charge 100 to 150 a month for 2-3 classes a week. These preschools are't top of the line, but they get the job done and will give your son time to play with other children and learn. You should call around and find some prices. I think the Vineyard Columbus that we go to charges $4.50 an hour for care and even if they are in daycare there they get the same activities that a child in preschool would get. Plus they have much better standards than most daycares do.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.P.

answers from Columbus on

Hello T.,

First of all lets deal with your babysitter situation, what you would need to do is get your babysitters Social Security Number so you can claim the child care credit and let her know that she is Self-Employed babysitting your children and she also can claim the monies she gets. I do not know her situation but I have been doing taxes for 10 years know and I run into a lot of people like your babysitter. And if your babysitter do not understand, then I suggest you take them to someone else who would understand that you need that credit and you can claim up to $3000 per child but I cannot tell you how much of that will result in a refund on your tax refund.

If you do not want to go to Ohio Job and Family Services then call 224-KIDS or Firstlink because you qualify for assistance with your children. I am married with 3 children and our 8 year old and 20 month old is on Healthy Start because it saves us a lot of money on Dr's Visits and prescriptions.

I hope I have helped in someway. God Bless

S. P.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.

answers from Columbus on

What preschool are you looking at?!?!?!? You can easily find one for around 100 dollars a month that would be just as good and would do a great job at getting your son ready for Kindergarten. My daughter is going 3 days a week (3 1/2 hrs a day) for a little around 130 dollars/month and it's a great school (and I'm VERY picky). I don't know about the tax/credit issues at all but as for the preschool issue I would recommend looking around because you should be able to find something much more affordable. Good luck - I know how stressful it can be to try to do what you think is the absolute best for your children!

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions

Related Searches