Except for post-secondary education, the Internal Revenue Service doesn’t offer tax breaks for costs associated with going to school. The IRS considers kindergarten educational in nature, so tuition isn’t tax deductible. A portion of what you spend might qualify for the child and dependent care tax credit, however.
The Child and Dependent Care Credit
The child and dependent care credit is worth up to $3,000 for one child or $6,000 for two or more children. It’s a percentage of your qualified care expenses based on your income. You may be eligible if you -- and your spouse, if you’re married -- have earned income and paid for child care so you could work or look for work. Your child can be no older than 12. Kindergarten tuition doesn’t qualify because your child isn’t there so you can work -- she’s there because she’s required by law to attend and be educated.
Before and After School Programs
A portion of what you spend on tuition may qualify for the tax credit if your child attends before or after regular school hours. If kindergarten enrollment is required in your state four hours a day and your child spends a full day there because you’ve enrolled her in an after school care program so you can work or look for work, what you pay for the aftercare program counts toward the tax credit. Ask the school to break the hours down on your invoices so you’ve got a clear record of how much you spend on non-deductible tuition and how much of your bill goes to child care.
Beverly Bird has been writing professionally for over 30 years. She is also a paralegal, specializing in areas of personal finance, bankruptcy and estate law. She writes as the tax expert for The Balance.