As you might expect, there a number of requirements you must meet before you can claim any portion of the tax credit. The requirements are summed up in the checklist that follows, and described in more detail below.
To claim the child or dependent care credit:
- You must have incurred expenses for the care of at least one qualifying person.
- The expenses must have been incurred to allow you to work or to look for work.
- You (and your spouse, if married) must keep up a home in which you live with the qualifying person (exceptions exist for divorced or separated parents).
- You (and your spouse, if married) must have earned some income during the year, unless you or your spouse were disabled or a full-time student.
- The care provider must be someone that you can't claim as a dependent.
- You must identify the care provider by name and Social Security number (or employer I.D. number).
- If married, you must file a joint return unless you meet the "abandoned spouse" exception.
- To claim the expenses you must file IRS Form 2441, Child and Dependent Care Expenses, along with your Form 1040 or 1040A. You can't claim the expenses by filing Form 1040EZ.
There are a number of additional requirements to be aware of, regarding: