To be able to claim the credit for child and dependent care expenses, you must file Form 1040, Form 1040A or Form 1040NR, not Form 1040EZ or Form 1040NR-EZ, and meet all the following tests.
The care must be for one or more qualifying persons who are identified on the form you use to claim the credit. (See Qualifying Person Test.)
You (and your spouse if you are married) must have earned income during the year. (However, see Rule for student-spouse or spouse not able to care for self under Earned Income Test, later.)
You must pay child and dependent care expenses so you (and your spouse if you are married) can work or look for work. (See Work-Related Expense Test, later.)
You must make payments for child and dependent care to someone you (and your spouse) cannot claim as a dependent. If you make payments to your child, he or she cannot be your dependent and must be age 19 or older by the end of the year. You cannot make payments to:
· Your spouse, or
· The parent of your qualifying child who is your qualifying person and under age 13.
5. Your filing status must be single, head of household, qualifying widow(er) with dependent child, or married filing jointly. You must file a joint return if you are married, unless an exception applies to you.
6. You must identify the care provider on your tax return. (See Provider Identification Test, later.)
7. If you exclude or deduct dependent care benefits provided by a dependent care benefit plan, the total amount you exclude or deduct must be less than the dollar limit for qualifying expenses (generally, $3,000 if one qualifying person was cared for, or $6,000 if two or more qualifying persons were cared for). (If two or more qualifying persons were cared for, the amount you exclude or deduct will always be less than the dollar limit, since the total amount you can exclude or deduct is limited to $5,000. See Reduced Dollar Limit under How To Figure the Credit, later.)
Back to: Child and dependent care credit index
Other sections to read about child care credit: Child and Dependant Care Credit, Qualifying Person Test, Earned Income Test, Qualified Expenses, Child and Dependent care expenses - examples
Taken from IRS Publication 503