Qualified expenses include amounts paid for household services and care of the qualifying person while you worked or looked for work. Child support payments are not qualified expenses. Also, expenses reimbursed by a state social service agency are not qualified expenses unless you included the reimbursement in your income.
Generally, if you worked or actively looked for work during only part of the period in which you incurred the expenses, you must figure your expenses for each day. However, there are special rules for temporary absences or part-time work. See Publication 503 for more details.
These are services needed to care for the qualifying person as well as to run the home. They include, for example, the services of a cook, maid, babysitter, housekeeper, or cleaning person if the services were partly for the care of the qualifying person. Do not include services of a chauffeur or gardener.
You can also include your share of the employment taxes paid on wages for qualifying child and dependent care services.
If you pay someone to look after your dependent or spouse in your home, you may be a household employer. If you are a household employer, you may have to withhold and pay social security and Medicare taxes and pay federal unemployment tax. For more information, refer to IRS Publication 926.
Care of the Qualifying Person
Care includes the cost of services for the qualifying person's well-being and protection. It does not include the cost of clothing or entertainment.
You can include the cost of care provided outside your home for your dependent under age 13 or any other qualifying person who regularly spends at least 8 hours a day in your home. If the care was provided by a dependent care center, the center must meet all applicable state and local regulations. A dependent care center is a place that provides care for more than six persons (other than persons who live there) and receives a fee, payment, or grant for providing services for any of those persons, even if the center is not run for profit.
You can include amounts paid for items other than the care of your child (such as food and schooling) only if the items are incidental to the care of the child and cannot be separated from the total cost. But do not include the cost of schooling for a child in kindergarten or above. You can include the cost of a day camp, even if it specializes in a particular activity, such as soccer. But do not include any expenses for sending your child to an overnight camp, summer school, or a tutoring program.