Child and Dependent Care Credit and Child Tax Credit

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If you pay someone to take care of your child while you work, you know how the cost of childcare can take a big chunk out of your take-home pay. To help offset this cost, you can claim a credit of up to 35% of the amount you paid for childcare during the tax year.

Child and Dependent Care Credit

It's well worth tracking the amount you pay for the care of your child under age 13. If you qualify for the maximum 35% credit, and you pay $4,000 per year in childcare, for example, you may receive up to a $1,400 credit.

The credit is reduced as your income rises.

If your adjusted gross income is over $43,000, you may receive a child and dependent care credit equal to 20% of your expenses.

You, and your spouse if you are married, generally must work or be looking for work to take this credit. You cannot take the credit or exclusion if you have no earned income for the year, unless you or your spouse is a full-time student or are disabled.

You may qualify for a child and dependent care credit for someone other than your child.

If your spouse or another person lived with you for more than half the year and was unable to care for himself or herself, you may be entitled to the credit. A person other than your spouse must be someone who is your dependent, or who would be your dependent except that they have gross income greater than $4,000 or they file a joint return, or you or your spouse can be claimed as a dependent on someone else's return.

A person is unable to care for himself or herself if physical or mental problems prevent the person from dressing, cleaning, or feeding themselves, or if they need constant attention to prevent injury to themselves or others.

Child Tax Credit

The child tax credit is in addition to any child and dependent care credit and dependency exemptions for which you qualify.

The credit begins to be reduced when your modified adjusted gross income reaches $75,000 ($110,000 if filing jointly, or $55,000 if married filing separately).

If you have children under age 17 at the end of the tax year, you may qualify for a flat $1,000 per child.

The child must be your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, half-brother, half-sister, or a descendant of any of them, such as your grandchild, niece, or nephew. He or she must have lived with you for more than half of the year, not provided more than half of his or her own support, and be your dependent, among other requirements. A child is considered to have lived with you for the year if the child was born or died during the year and the child lived with you the entire time he or she was alive.

The child tax credit is generally limited to the amount of income tax you owe.

However, if your child tax credit is greater than your income tax liability, you may qualify for the additional child tax credit. The additional child tax credit is the amount of child tax credit remaining after you apply the credit to your income tax liability or 15% of your earned income over $3,000 for the year, whichever is less. If you have three or more qualifying children, different limits apply to you.

TaxAct calculates the child tax credit on Schedule 8812, and the additional child tax credit if it applies to you.


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April 2016
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Upcoming Tax Dates

April 11 — Employees who work for tips
If you received $20 or more in tips during March, report them to your employer. You can use Form 4070.

April 12 — Communications and air transportation taxes under the alternative method
Deposit the tax included in amounts billed or tickets sold during the first 15 days of March.

April 14 — Regular method taxes
Deposit the tax for the last 16 days of March.

April 18 — Individuals
File a 2015 income tax return (Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ) and pay any tax due. If you want an automatic 6 month extension of time to file the return, file Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. For more information, see Form 4868. Then, file Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ by October 17.

April 18 — Individuals
If you are not paying your 2016 income tax through withholding (or will not pay in enough tax during the year that way), pay the first installment of your 2016 estimated tax. Use Form 1040ES.

April 18 — Household Employers
If you paid cash wages of $1,900 or more in 2015 to a household employee, you must file Schedule H - Details

April 18 — Partnerships
File a 2015 calendar year return (Form 1065) - Details

April 18 — Partnerships
Electing large partnerships: File a 2015 calendar year return (Form 1065-B) - Details

April 18 — Corporations
Deposit the first installment of estimated income tax for 2016 - Details

April 18 — Social security, Medicare, and withheld income tax
If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in March.

April 18 — Nonpayroll withholding
If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in March.

April 18 — Household employers
If you paid cash wages of $1,900 or more in 2015 to a household employee, you must file Schedule H (Form 1040). If you are required to file a federal income tax return (Form 1040), file Schedule H (Form 1040) with the return and report any household employment taxes. Report any federal unemployment (FUTA) tax on Schedule H (Form 1040) if you paid total cash wages of $1,000 or more in any calendar quarter of 2014 or 2015 to household employees. Also, report any income tax you withheld for your household employees.

April 27 — Communications and air transportation taxes under the alternative method
Deposit the tax included in amounts billed or tickets sold during the last 16 days of March.

April 29 — Regular method taxes
Deposit the tax for the first 15 days of April.

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