Can I Deduct Tuition for All Day Kindergarten Off My Taxes?

Can I Deduct Tuition for All Day Kindergarten Off My Taxes?
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As a taxpayer, your goal should be to reduce your tax liability to the lowest value so you can pay the least amount of money possible to the IRS. And that means claiming all deductions available to you. Also, you should claim all the available tax credits, even when you have zero tax liability.

Therefore, if you have one or more children or dependents, you should make note of all the child and dependent care expenses associated with taking care of them. Doing so may enable you to claim the child and dependent care credit as well as other types of tax credits that factor in child-related costs.

Child and Dependent Care Expenses

Does tuition count as dependent care? And does private school count as child care? Most likely not.

According to the IRS dependent care FSA rules, to qualify for the child and dependent care credit, you must pay expenses for a qualifying child or dependent to enable you or your spouse to go back to work or actively look for a job. And according to those rules, unless you or your spouse is a member of the military, you must also live in the U.S. for at least half of the year.

Therefore, if your child goes to school because it’s time that they did and not because you need to work or look for work, the expenses you incur for their education are not tax-deductible. Going to school is compulsory at that point. No matter how expensive the private school is, you cannot claim the associated expenses for tax filing purposes.

Does Preschool Count as Child Care for Taxes?

Generally, kindergarten expenses are not counted as an education or child care expense. However, there may be exceptions where pre-kindergarten tuition is tax-deductible.

If you keep your child in preschool and are actively working or looking for a job, you may be able to claim some of the expenses you incur on your taxes. The same applies to nursery school child care expenses or expenses incurred in similar programs. In such cases, you could claim up to ​50 percent​ of the first ​$8,000​ you spend, not just on child-care-related expenses, but also on the tuition. Once your gross adjusted income (AGI) reaches ​$125,000​, the amount you can claim begins to phase out.

However, you can only claim those expenses as tax credits that directly lower your tax liability. You do not claim them as tax deductions to reduce your taxable income.

If you are a stay-at-home parent, you cannot claim the child care or tuition expenses when filing returns. Neither can you claim the expenses if you work as a volunteer or work for a nominal fee.

Can You Claim Child Care Expenses for Older Children?

You can claim child care expenses for qualifying children aged ​12 and younger​ so long as you meet the other set criteria. You can also claim the expenses for qualifying dependents of any age if they are disabled.

The expenses you claim can be for programs before and after school, but not during the mandated school hours. Also, dependent care centers that comply with state and federal rules count for tax purposes. And so does transportation as part of the dependent’s care.

In addition, housekeepers taking care of your kids at home so you can work will factor in your cost calculations. However, tutoring programs and summer school care expenses don’t count.

Child and Dependent Care Expenses for 2021

You can claim up to ​half of $8,000​, or ​$4,000​, as a child and dependent care tax credit if you have one qualifying child for whom you pay expenses so you can actively work. If you have two or more dependents, you can claim a maximum of ​50 percent​ of ​$16,000​, or ​$8,000​, as a tax credit.

The credit due to you begins to phase out at an AGI of ​$125,000​ and completely disappears when your AGI reaches ​$438,000. To claim the tax credit, you must file Form 2441, even when you don’t owe taxes.