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Parents can get tax credit for sending kids to day camp

ST. PAUL - Many working parents need to arrange for care for their children when school is out. A popular solution - with a tax benefit - is a day camp program.

The Internal Revenue Service reminds parents that the cost of day camp may be a qualifying expense for the Child and Dependent Care Credit, which can be worth as much as $2,100 at tax time. Taxpayers should keep records of qualifying expenses.

Expenses for overnight camps do not qualify. However, summer expenses for an in-home childcare provider or a daycare facility also may qualify working parents for the tax credit, just as they do during the school year.

To qualify, expenses must be for a child under 13 years old and who is the taxpayer's dependent. The expenses must be work-related, meaning the care allows the parent(s) to work or look for employment.

The credit is generally 20 to 35 percent of expenses (less any amount reimbursed by a pre-tax flexible spending account), capped at $3,000 in expenses for one child and at $6,000 for two or more children. The actual credit varies by income, but the maximum credit applies to income below $15,000. The 20 percent rate applies to taxpayers with income of more than $43,000.

For more information, see IRS Publication 503, Child and Dependent Care Expenses, available at or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).