Your Taxes: No credit for these child care expenses

October 3, 2007

Did you send your kids to an educational summer camp this year, to sharpen their math or writing skills? If so, don't try to claim the dependent care credit for the costs.

Did you send your kids to an educational summer camp this year, to sharpen their math or writing skills? If so, don't try to claim the dependent care credit for the costs. The IRS disqualifies these programs, saying, "summer school and tutoring programs are indistinguishable from school and are education, not care." However, if you sent your child to a specialized program, such as a soccer or computer camp, you can take the credit.

For 2007, if your adjusted gross income tops $43,000, the allowable credit on your federal taxes equals 20 percent of your expenses, up to $3,000 for one child, for a maximum of $600. For two or more kids, the maximum credit is $1,200.

If your child attends a private half-day kindergarten, you can't get the credit on those costs either, but you can claim it for any before- or after-care fees. You're also not allowed any credit for the costs of a full-day private kindergarten, which the IRS treats as an educational program (yes, that again), not as deductible child care.