Dependent Care

The Dependent Care Reimbursement Account allows you to pay for day care expenses for your dependents with tax-free dollars.

ELIGIBLE DEPENDENT

  • A child under 13 who qualifies as a dependent on your Federal Income Taxes
  • Any other dependents, including a disabled spouse, disabled children over age 13 and elderly parents, who depend on you for financial support, qualify as dependents for tax purposes, and are incapable of self care
  • Please refer to “Rules and Regulations: Eligible Dependents” for the latest definition of a dependent, as revised under Section 152 of the Code by the Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2005 (WFTRA)

ELIGIBLE DEPENDENT CARE EXPENSES

For dependent care expenses to be eligible for reimbursement, you must be working during the time your eligible dependents are receiving care. If you are married, your spouse must be: Working at the time the day care services are provided; A full-time student for at least five months during the year; or Mentally or physically disabled and unable to provide care for him or herself

EXPENSES FOR KINDERGARTEN

Expenses for kindergarten are not eligible for reimbursement since they are generally for education, and not for custodial care. In order for an expense to be eligible for reimbursement from the Dependent Care Reimbursement Account, the primary purpose for the care of the qualifying individual must be to assure the individual’s well-being and protection. Dependent care must still be primarily for custodial care, not education, in order to qualify as an eligible employment-related expense from the Dependent Care Reimbursement Account.

EXAMPLES OF DEPENDENT CARE EXPENSES

  • Babysitters or Nannies that claim the child care as income on their taxes
  • Licensed day care centers
  • Private Preschool
  • Before and after school care
  • Day care for an elderly or disabled dependent

EXPENSES THAT WOULD NOT BE ELIGIBLE THROUGH THE DEPENDENT CARE ACCOUNT

  • Kindergarten (kindergarten & above is considered an educational expense)
  • Days you or your spouse are not working, including sick leave, vacation days, maternity leave
  • Transportation, books, clothing, or entertainment (Note: These expenses will be covered if provided by the nursery school or day care center as part of its preschool care services. If these types of expenses are billed separately, they are not an eligible expense.)
  • Care provider may not be a child of yours under the age of 19 or anyone you claim as a dependent for federal income tax purposes
  • Babysitting for social events
  • OVERNIGHT CAMP: Overnight camp is not an eligible expense, only DAY CAMPS are eligible. Remember that this account is set-up so that you and your spouse are able to go to work and Overnight camp is 24-hour care.

ANNUAL MAXIMUM FOR THE DEPENDENT CARE REIMBURSEMENT ACCOUNT

Must Not Exceed The Lesser Of:

  • $5,000 for one or more children ($2,500 if you are a married individual filing a separate tax return);
  • Your wages or salary for the Plan Year; or
  • The wages or salary of your spouse

If your spouse is either a full time student or is incapable of taking care of himself or herself then he or she is deemed to have monthly earnings of $250 if there is one (1) child or dependent, and $500 if there are two (2) or more children or dependents.

USING THE DEPENDENT CARE REIMBURSEMENT ACCOUNT
     VERSUS
FILING FOR A TAX CREDIT ON YOUR TAXES

Under current IRS regulations, you may be eligible to receive a tax credit for dependent care costs. You may claim a credit for dependent care, up to $3,000 for one child and $6,000 for two or more children, on your income taxes through the child care tax credit. However, through the Dependent Care Reimbursement Account you may set aside up to $5,000 per year, for one or more children, if you are married and filing a joint tax return or if you are a single parent. If you are married and filing separate tax returns, you may set aside only $2,500.

Typically, more money is saved by paying for dependent care through the FSA Dependent Care Reimbursement Account than by taking the dependent care credit on your tax return. This is because the total for federal, state, and FICA savings usually exceeds the dependent care credit. At taxable incomes greater than $14,000, participants will probably benefit more from taking reimbursement from the Flexible Benefit Plan. These assumptions are based on the inclusion of your state income tax.

You can also file for the tax credit while participating in the Dependent Reimbursement Care Account. If the amount you have placed through the reimbursement account does not meet the maximum allowed by the IRS, you can claim the difference between your Dependent Care deductions and the IRS maximum allowable expenses for the tax credit. You can claim a tax credit for any additional dependent care expenses incurred over the $5,000 maximum FSA limit up to the $6,000 child care tax credit limit on your taxes. You cannot claim the tax credit for any dependent care expenses paid from the Dependent Care Reimbursement Account. It is your responsibility to report the Dependent Care amount on your tax form 2441. The amount is listed on your W-2 under Dependent Care Benefit for the tax year. If you are not sure about the eligibility of an expense, phone Flexible Benefits Administrators at (757) 340-4567 or (800) 437-FLEX or refer to IRS Publication 503: “Dependent Care Expenses”. This publication can be ordered by calling the IRS at (800) 829-3676.