Can I claim daycare expenses on my tax return?


If you have a child and you pay for daycare, you may be able to claim the expenses on your tax return. However, there are many rules that apply to this deduction. The more often you use daycare and the more expensive it is, the easier it will be to get this deduction. Please note that if you don’t qualify for the deduction or if you’re close but not quite there due to income or other factors, then there are other ways to save on childcare costs such as sending your kids to public school instead of private (this is especially true if they’re still in preschool).

Can you claim daycare expenses on your tax return? Maybe.

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Unsplash Image:Leon Dewiwje

As a parent, you may be able to claim daycare expenses on your tax return. This is true if:

  • You’re paying for full-time care for your child or children under the age of 16.
  • You’re paying for part-time care.

You’ll need to use these tax forms in order to do so: 1040, 1040A and/or 1040EZ, depending on how much money you make annually and whether or not you have other dependents who need claiming as well (such as older siblings). You should also set up an FSA (federal salary adjustment) account with any employer who offers this benefit–this allows employees to put aside money from each paycheck into an account that can only be used toward qualifying childcare expenses such as nannies/babysitters/daycares etcetera!

Who can claim daycare expenses on their tax return?

You can claim daycare expenses on your tax return if you are a single parent. You can also claim them if you are married and have a child in daycare, or if your spouse is not working full-time. If one of the parents is disabled, they may be able to claim the cost of care for their dependent children as well.

If both parents work outside of the home and share responsibility for taking care of their children, each parent can generally deduct annually from his or her taxable income for childcare costs paid by him/herself or by his/her employer through an employer-sponsored flexible spending account (FSA).

Parents who have multiple children in care at once can combine these amounts for each child to maximize their tax savings.

What are the rules for claiming daycare expenses?

If you’re paying for daycare expenses, you can claim them on your tax return. To qualify for this deduction, the child must be under 16 and:

  • Your spouse or common-law partner’s child
  • The child of a person who is deceased if they were considered to be your spouse or common-law partner at some point during the year (for example, if they were married to you and separated from their current spouse)

How much can my spouse and I each claim for childcare?

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Unsplash Image: Katie Harp

If you are married or living common law, you can each claim up to $8,000 per child. If your spouse has a lower income than you do and takes the childcare deduction on their return, they may find that they have more room in their tax refund than they expected.

However, if your spouse did not work during the year and has no income at all (or only earned very little), then he or she cannot claim any of these expenses on his or her own taxes because it’s considered self-employment income–and only self-employed people can deduct business expenses from their personal taxes.


You might be surprised to learn that the answer to these questions is not as straightforward as you might expect. While it’s true that many people can claim childcare expenses on their tax return, there are a few important things you should know before filing your return. There are some restrictions around who can claim childcare expenses and how much they can claim.