Question

If I pay a caregiver to take care of my spouse who is not well — basically a disabled spouse caregiver — am I able to claim a dependent care credit?

Answer

Here’s what you’ll need to do before you claim the credit:

  • Make sure your spouse qualifies. Both of these must be true:
    • He or she is physically or mentally incapable of caring for himself or herself.
    • He or she lived in the same main home as you for more than half the year.
  • Choose your filing status — you can’t use married filing separately.
  • Find out the following information about the person who provided care to your disabled spouse:
    • Legal name
    • Address
    • Taxpayer identification number, like a Social Security number (SSN)

Use these expenses to figure the dependent care credit:

  • The cost of a household employee, like your caregiver. The services the employee provides must be at least partly for the well-being and protection of your spouse.
  • Taxes paid on the wages for your household employee

Claim the credit on Form 2441. The amount of the dependent care credit is limited to 35% of the total expenses you incurred so you could work or look for work. The percentage decreases by 1% for each $2,000 of your adjusted gross income (AGI) that’s more than $15,000. However, the percentage won’t go lower than 20%.

  • For one dependent, the maximum amount of expense that can be claimed for the credit is $3,000. For two or more dependents, you may claim up to $6,000 in expenses

 

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