Are Child Care Credits Just For Kids?

Are Child Care Credits Just For Kids?

Dear Counselor: I know about the tax break you can get for the costs of caring for children while my wife and I work, but what about expenses incurred in caring for other dependents?

Dear Client: The term child care credit is misleading. The basic rule is that you may be eligible for a credit if you have to pay someone to take care of your dependent — any dependent — regardless of age. Let me give you two quick examples. What if you and your wife are both working, and your wife’s elderly mother has come to live with you. She falls while you are out one day, and now needs care during the day while you and your wife are at work. As long as your mother-in-law qualifies as your dependent, her day care expense also qualifies for the “child care credit”. Second example — your wife has unexpected surgery and is laid up for four weeks at home, while she recuperates. She can’t get out of bed, so you hire a full time caretaker. Under this scenario, the cost of the caretaker qualifies for the “child care credit.” The lesson learned is that “child care credits” are not limited to expenses associated with caring for kids. The key is whether the person is your dependent.


John L. Maier, Jr.

Sweet & Maier, S.C., Attorneys
114 Church St.
Elkhorn, Wisconsin