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

Credit for Child and Dependent Care Expenses

Five Eligibility Tests

Qualifying Person Test


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.

To meet the qualifying person test, a taxpayer's child and dependent care expenses must be for the care of at least one qualifying person. Refer to the Child and Dependent Care Credit Expenses Tip in the Volunteer Resource Guide, Nonrefundable Credits tab, for more information.

A qualifying person is a:

  • Spouses who were physically or mentally unable to care for themselves and lived with the taxpayer more than half the year.
  • Someone who was physically or mentally incapable of self-care whom the taxpayer claims as a dependent or for whom the taxpayer could claim a dependency exemption, except that:
    • The person had income greater than the current year exemption amount
    • The person filed a joint return
    • The taxpayer or spouse, if Married Filing Jointly, could be claimed as a dependent on someone else's current year tax return
  • Child who was under the age of 13 when the care was provided. If the child is being claimed as a dependent by the noncustodial parent under the special rules for children of divorced and separated parents, only the custodial parent may treat the child as a qualifying person for this credit.

See the rules for a qualifying child and the special rules for children of divorced or separated parents or parents who live apart in Publication 17.