Last Summer Cara attended Blue Lake Fine Arts camp in Northern Michigan for 2 weeks. It is time to send our deposit and registration to the camp for this summer’s camp. Although Blue Lake overnight camp does not qualify as child care expense, many other summer camps do and here is what you need to know:
- As nice as it is to have a night alone, the cost of sending your child to an overnight camp is not considered a work-related expense for purposes of the credit.
- If the camp specializes in an art, sport, hobby, or any other specialization your child can dream up, the cost of sending your child to a day camp may be a qualifying expense
- Remember that the forms matter! To claim a credit for child care expenses, you’ll need to attach a federal form 2441 to a federal form 1040, federal form 1040A, or form 1040NR. You cannot file a federal form 1040EZor federal form 1040NR-EZ (all forms download as a pdf) and claim the credit.
- Stay at home and unemployed spouses make you ineligible for the credit.I know, I know, this is unpopular. But it is what it is. The child care credit is classified for tax purposes as “work-related.”
- For tax purposes, expenses that you pay for summer camp must be for a child considered a “qualifying person.” In most cases, this means your dependent child under the age of 13. This means, as nice as it would be to ship off your best friend’s or neighbor’s kids, those expenses won’t count for purposes of the credit.
- To claim the credit, you must include your child’s name and Social Security number.
- You must make payments to an actual child care provider who will be identified on your tax return by name, address, and bona fide tax ID number. This provider cannot be your spouse, your qualifying child’s parent or your dependent (if the provider happens to be your child, he or she must not be claimed as your dependent and must also be at least 19 years old by the end of the year).
- Sadly, nearly everything you buy to help send your child to camp is non-deductible. This includes sports equipment, clothing, and fans and furniture.
- On the bright side, any medical expenses needed to send your child to camp are deductible! That includes physicals, shots, and fees for doctors to complete forms for camp. (If those are part of your medical care, they are deductible. For more on medical expenses, check out this post).
- If you make any early deposits and then your child changes their mind about the camp they wish to attend, any money lost will not qualify as a child care expense.
- If your child changes their mind at the last minute, maybe because they can’t bear a minute away from you… ha ha, the money lost cannot be categorized as a donation.
- If there are transportation costs associated with your child’s preferred summer camp, the costs may qualify as an expense for the purposes of the credit if the camp takes the child to or from the place where the child care is provided. However, the costs that YOU spend on your own transportation to get your child to summer camp will not qualify as an expense for purposes of the credit.
Check out Cara’s Art Work from Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp: