1997 Tax Help Archives  

Child and Dependent Care Credit

This is archived information that pertains only to the 1997 Tax Year. If you
are looking for information for the current tax year, go to the Tax Prep Help Area.

If you paid someone to care for a qualifying individual in order to work or look for work, you may be able to claim the credit for child and dependent care expenses. If you are married, both spouses must have worked, unless one spouse was either a full-time student or was physically or mentally incapable of self-care. The expenses you paid must have been for the care of one or more of the following qualifying individuals:

  1. A child under age 13 whom you can claim as a dependent or whom you could have claimed as a dependent had it not been granted to a noncustodial parent in a written agreement or decree of divorce or separate maintenance,
  2. Your spouse who is mentally or physically unable to care for himself or herself; or
  3. Any disabled person who was not able to care for himself or herself, and whom you can claim as a dependent (or could claim as a dependent except the person had $2,650 or more of gross income).

To take the credit, you must meet all the following conditions:

  1. You generally must have earned income during the year,
  2. The qualifying person must have lived with you in a home kept up by you; and
  3. Generally, if married, you must file a joint return.

To qualify for the credit, the expenses must have been paid for the qualifying person's care so you could work or look for work. However, you cannot include payments made to your spouse, a person whom you can claim as a dependent, or your child who was under age 19 at the end of the year.

If you qualify for the credit, use Schedule 2 of Form 1040A, or Form 2441 with Form 1040. If you received dependent care benefits (this amount should be shown in box 10 of your 1997 Form W-2), you must complete part III of the Schedule 2 or Form 2441. You cannot use Form 1040EZ if you claim the child and dependent care credit. You must report the name, address, and taxpayer identification number, either the social security number, or the employer identification number of the child care provider on your return. You can use Form W-10, Dependent Care Provider's Identification and Certification, to request this information from the care provider.

The credit is a percentage, based on your adjusted gross income, of the amount you paid someone to care for the qualifying person. You may use up to $2,400 of the expenses paid in a year for one qualifying person, or $4,800 for two or more qualifying persons.

For additional information refer to Publication 503, Child and Dependent Care Expenses. If you pay someone to look after your dependent or spouse in your home, you may be a household employer. If you are, you may have to withhold and pay social security and Medicare tax and pay federal unemployment tax. For information on this subject, order Publication 926, Household Employer's Tax Guide, or refer to Topic 756 and Topic 760.

Publications may be ordered by calling 1-800-829-3676, or downloaded from this web site.

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