Internal Revenue Service United States Department of the Treasury
Level Basic Advanced Military International

Credit for Child and Dependent Care Expenses

Determining Taxpayer Eligibility

Using the Decision Tree

Interview Tip

Click each step number to learn more.

Probe/Action: Ask the Taxpayer:

Qualifying Person Test: Was the care for one or more qualifying persons?

If NO, You CANNOT claim the child and dependent care credit.

If YES, go to earned income test.

Probe/Action: Ask the Taxpayer:

Earned Income Test: Did you have earned income during the year?

If NO, You CANNOT claim the child and dependent care credit.

If YES, go to work-related expense test.

Probe/Action: Ask the Taxpayer:

Work-Related Expense Test: Did you pay the expenses to allow you to work or look for work?

If NO, You CANNOT claim the child and dependent care credit.

If YES, go to the next work-related expense test question.

Probe/Action: Ask the Taxpayer:

Work-Related Expense Test: Were your payments made to someone you or your spouse could claim as a dependent?

If NO, go to the next work-related expense test question.

If YES, You CANNOT claim the child and dependent care credit.

Probe/Action: Ask the Taxpayer:

Work-Related Expense Test: Were your payments made to your spouse or to the parent of your child who is your qualifying person?

If NO, go to the next work-related expense test question.

If YES, You CANNOT claim the child and dependent care credit.

Probe/Action: Ask the Taxpayer:

Work-Related Expense Test: Were your payments made to your child who was under the age of 19 at the end of the year?

If NO, go to the Joint Return test question.

If YES, You CANNOT claim the child and dependent care credit.

Probe/Action: Ask the Taxpayer:

Joint Return Test: Are you Single?

If NO, go to the Joint Return test question.

If YES, go to the Provider Identification Test.

Probe/Action: Ask the Taxpayer:

Joint Return Test: Are you filing a Joint return?

If NO, go to the Joint Return test question.

If YES, go to the Provider Identification Test.

Probe/Action: Ask the Taxpayer:

Joint Return Test: Did you meet the requirements to be considered unmarried?

If NO, You CANNOT claim the child and dependent care credit.

If YES, go to the Provider Identification Test.

Probe/Action: Ask the Taxpayer:

Provider Identification Test: Do you know the care provider's name, address, and identifying number?

Did you make a reasonable effort to get this information?

If NO, to both questions You CANNOT claim the child and dependent care credit.

If YES to one or more questions, go to the Provider Identification Test.

Probe/Action: Ask the Taxpayer:

Provider Identification Test: Did you have only one qualifying person and exclude or deduct at least $3,000 of dependent care benefits?

If NO, You CAN claim the child and dependent care credit. Fill out Form 2441.

If YES, You CANNOT claim the child and dependent care credit.

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