Will I Get a Refund If I File for the Child and Dependent Care Credit?

Updated on January 12, 2011
J.N. asks from Richardson, TX
7 answers

I don't know very much about the Child and Dependent Care Credit. I just enrolled my daughter in daycare this month and I'm kind of regretting not signing up for the Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account. I did however stuble across something regarding a "Child and Dependent Care Credit." I know the refund will all depend on how much my husband and I make but is this credit open to anyone that has someone in child care? If so, can you please explain how this works. Thanks!

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So What Happened?

Thank you! I knew it wouldn't help for my 2010 taxes but I'm thinking about switching her to a different daycare. The fact that we could possibly get a credit would be great. Of course, I'm not basing my decision soley on this but it would definitely be helpful if it worked out.

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answers from Washington DC on


I believe it will aid in you getting a refund. We do our taxes via TurboTax and have everything set up already....you can actually go to the irs.gov and get more information!

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answers from Dallas on

If you just enrolled her then it wont help you on this years taxes but it will next year.

You would get up to a $3000 credit for these expenses with one child.

I have two children and pay close to $20K a year in child care and can only get $6K back. But I would trade my boys eduation for the world.

Find a good school and dont worry about the money.

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answers from Tyler on

Most of the people have answered this appropriately, but I just want to add one thing - you need to have the tax id of the daycare or the social security number of a home provider if you are going to file for a refund. You mention that you enrolled your child in a daycare this year (which won't help you on the 2010 taxes), but if you had someone keeping your child at all last year (home provider), you can file for the refund as long as they are willing for you to report it as income to them.

The Flexible spending account is nice in that you can use pre-tax dollars to pay for your child care. I did this when I first had my son, but it was a reimbursement process and honestly, it was hard for me to be able to afford to pay the daycare and then wait on the reimbursement. Now, I hear that it can be done with a debit card which has your pre-paid money on it - which would be much nicer. You have more than likely missed the enrollment period for the Flexible spending account for 2011, but you can look into it for 2012. Enrollment is usually at the end of the prior year (sometime between October and December), but you need to check with your employer.

Good luck

Good luck,



answers from Portland on

Go to the IRS web site where this is one of the commonly asked questions.

The Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA) is separate from the Child and Dependent Care Credit (CDCC). The advantage of using the Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account is that the money for child care is taken out of your pay check before taxes are figured. You may still be able to sign up for that. You do so with your employer.

I'm confused. Where she is in daycare is totally unrelated to the tax issue. Switching day care will not influence either of these possibilities.



answers from Albuquerque on

Talk to your employer about the Flex spending account--since you just started your kidi n daycare, you might be able to sign up late. It's worth a try anyways. Our annual daycare expense is ~$8k, so I do both: FSA (takes money out pre-tax) max $5,000, and I claim the rest ~$3,000 as a tax credit. I didn't do the FSA the first year of daycare (wasn't aware of the program) and on taxes, I think you can only claim a certain dollar amount and you only get credit for a certain percent of that... so in the end, mine only came out to about $200 tax refund. :/ The daycare doesn't matter, as long as they have a federal tax ID number. If you do the FSA, you'll have to file claims to be reimbursed.



answers from Dallas on

You will get a percentage back on your income taxes depending on how much money you and your spouse make in the year.



answers from New York on

I'm an accountant. In general a tax credit reduces your taxes but may in no way cause you to have a refund by default. A refund is generally determined from having too much in taxes withheld from your pay versus your actuail tax obligation.

Yes you do need the social security number or tax id for the person or business caring for your child. FYI - Child and Dependent Care isn't limited to day care but also can include things like summer camp, housekeeping, in home chef, tutoring and the like. It would be considered people whose services you used in helping to care for your children. Just some food for thought.

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