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You may be able to claim the child and dependent care credit if you pay for the care of a qualifying individual so you can work or look for work. If you are married, both spouses must have earned income to qualify for the credit. Exceptions apply to disabled or student spouses.

To enter child and dependent care information in your TaxAct return, click Federal. (On smaller devices, click the menu icon in the upper left-hand corner, then select Federal), then click Child and Dependent Care.

The amount of your credit is generally a percentage (20-35%, depending on adjusted gross income) of the work-related care expenses you paid to a care provider. The expenses that qualify for the credit must be reduced by the amount of any dependent care benefits provided by your employer that you excluded from gross income.

Your qualifying expenses are capped at $3,000 ($6,000 if you had two or more qualifying individuals) and are reported on Form 2441. The credit is nonrefundable, so it can only reduce your tax liability to zero.

Per IRS Instructions for Form 2441, page 1:

A qualifying person for the purposes of the child and dependent care credit is:

  • A qualifying child under age 13 whom you can claim as a dependent. If the child turned 13 during the year, the child is a qualifying person for the part of the year he or she was under age 13. 
  • Your disabled spouse who wasn't physically or mentally able to care for himself or herself, or
  • Any disabled person who wasn't physically or mentally able to care for himself or herself whom you can claim as a dependent or could claim as a dependent except:
    1. The disabled person had gross income of $4,150 or more,
    2. The disabled person filed a joint return, or 
    3. You (or your spouse if filing jointly) could be claimed as a dependent on another taxpayer's 2018 return. 

The maximum allowable credit is $1,050 for one dependent or $2,100 for two or more dependents (35% of $3,000/$6,000 in expenses). The allowable credit will decrease if you have fewer qualifying expenses or if you have an AGI over $15,000. 

For more information, see the IRS Instructions for Form 2441IRS Publication 503, and the related links below. 

Related Links


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