How You Can Save Up To $2,100 on Summer Day Camp

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Schools out for summer and you may have been trying to figure out more ways to save. If you’re like most parents, you’re probably wondering how you’re going to keep your kids busy without breaking the bank. You may also be considering entering the job market again this summer, but don’t know how you can afford to work with the prices of daycare these days.

Whether you are a parent already working or you are planning to enter the job market again this summer, you may be surprised to find that you can save up to $2,100 on your taxes when you file just because you sent your kids to summer day camp.

Under the Child and Dependent Care Credit, you may receive a credit up to $1,050 of your expenses for one child under 13 and up to $2,100 for two or more children under 13 and there is no age limit if they are disabled. There is one catch though, overnight camps do not count.

There are a few qualifications necessary in order for you to save with the Child and Dependent Care Credit as follows:

  • The care must be provided for a qualifying person who is your dependent under the age of 13 when care was provided. Note: Care may also be provided for your spouse or certain other dependents who are physically and mentally incapable of self-care.
  • Your child or qualifying person must be in summer camp or daycare so that you can work or look for work.
  • Your tax filing status must be single, married filing jointly, head of household, or qualifying widow(er) with your dependent listed on your tax return.
  • The child must have lived with you for more than half of the tax year in question.
  • The care provider must be identified on your tax return and cannot be your spouse, the parent of your qualifying person, or your dependent child under the age of 19 by the end of the tax year.

Knowing about this little known tax credit may also help you decide if you are on the fence about going back to work. This will also give you peace of mind knowing your kids are staying active in a safe place while you save (make) money.

Don’t worry about knowing these tax rules. TurboTax will ask you simple questions and give you the tax deductions and credits you’re eligible for based on your answers. If you have questions, you can connect live via one-way video to a TurboTax Live CPA or Enrolled Agent to get your tax questions answered. TurboTax Live CPAs and Enrolled Agents are available in English and Spanish and can also review, sign, and file your tax return.

Comments (141) Leave your comment

  1. My kids go to summer camp through our towns recreation department. I have asked the rec department for a tax ID number so that I can claim the money I paid and they said they don’t have one. Is there a way to claim the amount spent without a tax id for them?

  2. Hi Lisa,

    I work full time. My wife is a teacher. She gets paid on a 12 month cycle although she does not work over the summer (for the most part). At times she will go into school to help out, set up her room, etc. She also has consistently run a school project for our son’s school which she spends time over the summer working on. She does not get paid for this project. Can we deduct our son’s summer day camp as an expense?


    Evan S.

    1. Hi Teresa,
      Yes, if your child is sent to summer camp so you and your husband can work you may be eligible for the credit. TurboTax will calculate the credit for you when you file your taxes.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  3. Hello, I wonder if I qualify for child and dependent care credit if I sent my son to his grandparents’ for the whole summer? Meaning the cost of flight fare and providing $500 to help them out?

    1. Connie,
      There is no time requirement, but they must be in day care so that the parents can work. If they are in a one week day camp, and both parents work or are in school during that week, the fees will qualify for the tax credit.

      Mary Ellen

    2. Connie,
      The requirement to claim the credit is that both parents are working or in school while the child is in day care. You can claim the credit for just one day, if that is all you pay for during the year.

  4. I don’t think it is fair that the children have to live with you for more than half the year. We have my fiancee’s kids for ten weeks in the summer. They live out of state for the school year with their mother. We pay her child support while they are here as well as incur the costs of child care while we work and living costs of two more people in the house. She already gets to claim them on taxes. We get NO HELP because of little loopholes like this!

    1. Hi,
      You and your wife have to file married filing jointly to get the credit and you must have sent your child to daycare or camp so you can both go to work or look for work unless your wife was a full-time student or disabled you can not get the credit.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  5. My son is in an afterschool drama club that puts on plays in school year. 3 to 4 hours per week afterschool. it is not formally a school sponsored program. can I apply the member dues toward my dependent care account?

    1. Hi Scott,
      You would only be elible to get the credit for the costs if the afterschool care was so that you could work.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  6. Great info! Question : If I was able to send my daughter to camps with partial scholarships , I still paid a portion out of pocket . Can I still claim this credit? Thanks for this! I am thinking I may go back a couple of years for this! Cant believe I didn’t think about summer camps!!

    1. Hi Chris,
      If you sent your child to camp so you could work and you paid some of the expenses out of your pocket then you may be eligible for the credit.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  7. My grandchildren attend latch-key after school until their parents can pick them up from work. Does this qualify?

    1. Hi Pat,

      If the parents are paying for after-school care so they can work, they may be eligible for the credit.

      Mary Elen

    1. Hi Jessica,
      If your kids go to the recreation center so that you can work then you may be eligible for the credit.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  8. I have the same question, I am a full-time working teacher from Sept. throught June. I have the summer off, though I spend time planning instruction for the upcoming school year. Would I qualify?

  9. I have a question. I have asked to local Sports Association NonProfit Company for a Fed ID number for a cheer camp that my daughter will be attending next Saturday while I work during the morning. This is there response “We do not give out our Tax ID to any individual. The guidelines are very specific in the IRS code. ” What are they referring to and they refuse to give me the Fed ID number.. can they actually do that and I am totally confused? This is the only entity that has refused… the City the Church and the Daycare and various other Camp Places have given it without an argument except this Local Sports Association.

    1. Hi Janet,
      I’m not sure if what your paying is considered a donation since the Sports Association is a not for profit company. Maybe that is what they are referring to. Otherwise if the care is so that you can work and they comply with all state and local laws and regulations then you should be able to take the credit for dependent care.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

      1. Oh no it’s not a donation nor does the registration indicate anything about the word donations. The have a set payment/fee. Thank you for your help and assistance – I do really appreciate it !!

  10. Can I claim my wife’s employment consists of taking care of our 1yr old and then claim day care expenses for our 3 yr old?

  11. My two kids go to day camp every week ($76) they also go to summing class ($45) All this services are provided for parks and recreation department of my town (city of Riverside CA) does this count ? How do i get their tax ident. number ? Thank you !!

  12. My two kids go to day camp every week ($76) they also go to summing class ($45) All this services are provided for parks and recreation department of my town (city of Riverside CA) does this count ? How do i get their tax ident. number ? Thank you !!

    1. Hi Claudia,
      If the costs are paid so you can work or look for work then your expenses may qualify. You would have to ask the organization that you pay for their tax ID number.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  13. Great Info! Thanks!!
    We have a home based business and receive a 1099.
    And my husband works full time. I can use this time to work my business.
    How do we get this credit?
    Also, we have 4 kids….can we get a credit for all of them?

    1. Hi Heather,
      Yes, whether you are self-employed or work for an employer if you incur the costs so that you can work or look for work you may be eligible for the credit. 2 or more kids gives you a credit up to $2,100 which is the maximum you can get. The maximum qualifying expenses is $6,000 for two or more dependents and you get up to 35% of the expenses depending on your income. TurboTax figures out the credit for you based on your entries.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  14. My son has Autism and attended school this summer to offer intense therapy. I’m a teacher and off during the summer. How can I deduct the cost?

  15. My son goes to daycare and I participate in flexible spending dependent care every year. Under these circumstances, do we still qualify for child and dependent care credit? Thank you

    1. Hi Andreea,
      Yes, you could. Your maximum dollar limits for day care would be reduced by the amount provided by the flexible spending account. The maximum dollar limit for one child is $3,000 and for 2 or more is $6,000. TurboTax calculates your credit for you.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

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