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The tax credit for child and dependent care expenses was intended only to help those who incur these expenses in order to enable them to earn income. So, you can only claim expenses that are work-related; that is, they must be necessary to allow you to work or to look for work.
If you are married, the expenses must be required to allow both you and your spouse to work or to look for work, unless one of you meets the criteria above for being disabled or a full-time student.
"Work" includes any gainful full-time or part-time work, self-employment, and even work performed in your own home, but does not include volunteer work.
If you are actively looking for work, you can claim expenses for the period of your job search, but only up to the amount of your actual earned income for the year (or your spouse's income, if lower).
For more details on deductible child and dependent care expenses, take a look at the following topics: