Tax Deductible Summer Camp and Childcare: Things to Know

Did you know that some summer camps and after school activities can qualify as childcare for tax purposes? Find out more about what to ask your tax preparer.

Did you know that some summer camps and after school activities qualify as childcare and can reduce your taxes? Find out more about what qualifies and how to get the tax credit.

by ActivityHero Staff

Your family’s after-school care and summer day camp expenses may lower your taxes as a Child and Dependent Care Expense. If you paid a summer camp, daycare center, babysitter, or other care provider to care for a qualifying child under age 13 or a disabled dependent of any age, you may qualify for a tax credit up to 35 percent of qualifying expenses of $3,000 for one child or dependent, or up to $6,000 for two or more children or dependents. Even coding camps and after-school language classes can qualify, as long as your child is under 13 and meets the other criteria.

Here are some of the key points you need to know to get the tax credit:

  • Expenses are deductible only if the main purpose is the “person’s well-being and protection.” Summer school, private school tuition, tutoring and overnight camps don’t qualify.
  • Children who required care must be under 13 years of age.
  • Both parents must be working, or looking for work (with some rare exceptions).
  • Only day camps qualify, not overnight camps.
  • Day care centers or after-school care qualifies if only if the center complies with all state and local regulations.
  • There is a maximum yearly dollar amount of $3000 for one child, or $6000 for two or more children.

To get the tax credit, you must file a form 1040 or 1040A (not a 1040EZ) and additional forms (at least Form 2441) are also required. Be prepared to include the care provider name (camp or child care center), address and taxpayer identification number. Tip: you can find tax ID’s, also known as EIN, by searching for the name on ActivityHero. If you are married, you must be filing a joint tax return, not separate returns.

Please keep in mind that we know a fair bit about summer camps and kids activities, but are NOT tax experts. There are additional restrictions to this tax credit, so read IRS publication 503 carefully or consult your tax advisor before claiming the tax dependent care credit.

When booking summer and school holiday camps, consider whether the camps will be eligible for a tax credit next year. The tax credit can cut the price of camp by up to 35%.

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