The amount of child care expenses you can take (or have on your W-2) is limited to the lower of your (or your spouse's, if applicable) earned income.
Per IRS Publication 503 Child and Dependent Care Expenses:
Page 11: Earned Income Limit.
The amount of work-related expenses you use to figure your credit can't be more than:
Page 4: Rule for student-spouse or spouse not able to care for self. Your spouse is treated as having earned income for any month that he or she is:
Page 11: You or your spouse is a student or not able to care for self. Your spouse who is either a full-time student or not able to care for himself or herself is treated as having earned income. His or her earned income for each month is considered to be at least $250 if there is one qualifying person in your home, or at least $500 if there are two or more.
Spouse works. If your spouse works during that month, use the higher of $250 (or $500) or his or her actual earned income for that month.
Spouse qualifies for part of month. If your spouse is a full-time student or not able to care for himself or herself for only part of a month, the full $250 (or $500) still applies for that month.
You are a student or not able to care for yourself. These rules also apply if you are a student or not able to care for yourself and are filing a joint return. For each month or part of a month you are a student or not able to care for yourself, your earned income is considered to be at least $250 (or $500). If you also work during that month, use the higher of $250 (or $500) or your actual earned income for that month.
Both spouses qualify. If, in the same month, both you and your spouse are either full-time students or not able to care for yourselves, only one spouse can be considered to have this earned income of $250 (or $500) for that month.
To enter the amounts in the TaxAct Program, which will transfer to Lines 4 and/or 5 of Form 2441 follow the steps below (if there are also care expenses to be entered for the care of the disabled spouse, first follow the steps at the end of this email):
If you have expenses to claim on Form 2441 for a disabled spouse you would enter them as a nondependent qualifying person for EIC and/or dependent care credit in the dependent section of the return so you are able to enter qualifying expenses for them:
This will NOT list them as a dependent on the tax return however allows entry in the Child and Dependent Care section of the program. Note the spouse must also have the disabled box checked in the Basic Info section (or on page 1 of Form 1040) in order to be eligible to claim expenses for them on Form 2441 along with the disabled box in the dependent section.