Tax guide

Child and Dependent Care

Updated for filing 2021 tax returns

What is the Child and Dependent Care Credit?

Making sure your children are cared for while you work can be costly, which is why the Child and Dependent Care Credit (CDCC) is such a great tax credit for working parents.

How much is the Child and Dependent Care Credit worth?

The credit lets you recoup up to 50% of your qualifying expenses, so long as those expenses don’t exceed $8,000 for one dependent or $16,000 for two or more. By that math, the maximum credit amount would be $4,000 for one dependent and $8,000 for two or more.

Keep in mind that this only applies to unreimbursed child or dependent care expenses. If your employer pays for a dependent care benefit plan, your maximum credit is reduced by the amount you received.

How much of the credit you qualify for takes some serious math to calculate, but no worries—we’ll do the work in the background when you file with

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Who qualifies for the CDCC?

The credit applies not only to children, but also to some dependent adults and teens. For the purposes of this tax break, a qualifying person is:

  • Your dependent who is under age 13 when the care is provided
  • A person who isn’t mentally or physically able to care for themselves

For dependents who can’t care for themselves due to mental or physical reasons, there are additional requirements:

  • They live with you for more than half the year
  • They are your dependent
  • They would have been your dependent if one of the following hadn’t happened:

Are there requirements for the type of care provided?

Yes—only certain types of care are covered by the CDCC:

  • The care must have been provided by someone other than you or your spouse so you and your spouse could work or look for work.
  • The care provider can’t be your spouse, a parent of a qualifying dependent, a dependent you claim or your child who is not at least 19 years old.

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