How To Claim Preschool Expenses on Your Taxes

If you’re wondering whether preschool costs are tax deductible: they may be, but the IRS has set out strict requirements.

Ruchi Gupta - Author

Feb. 28 2022, Published 5:21 a.m. ET

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As you can face severe penalties for submitting incorrect tax returns, many people choose to hire a professional to do their taxes. Others still do their taxes themselves to save costs on tax preparation. If you’ve decided to prepare your taxes alone, you may be wondering whether preschool tuition is tax deductible.

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The type of preschool you choose to send your child to often determines the costs you’d incur. A public preschool run by the local school district may be free, but you won’t find them everywhere. As a result, many parents send their kids to private preschools where they have to pay.

If you’ve to pay for your child’s preschool, consider it a worthy investment. Kids learn a lot at that level and the benefits are long lasting. In fact, studies have shown that kids who attend preschool sessions gain an advantage in areas such as social skills, planning, listening, and self-control.

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Why parents send kids to preschool

In addition to wanting their child to start their educational journey early, parents often need to send their child to preschool. Many parents enroll their children in preschool or daycare programs so they can work or look for work. However, affordability can be a major concern, with other costs in addition to tuition, such as transportation.

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Is there tax relief for preschool parents?

A deductible expense is the one you can subtract from your income to reduce your tax liability. Tax credits also directly reduce your tax bill. Taking advantage of the IRS's numerous deductions and credit can not only lower your tax bill but also boost your tax refund.

As for preschool expenses, their eligibility for tax deduction isn't so straightforward. You may be able to write them off through the Child and Dependent Care credit, but the criteria are fairly specific.

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If your child attends preschool so you can go to work or look for employment, you may be able to claim tuition and related expenses under the care credit, of up to $3,000 per child and a maximum of $6,000 for two or more kids. This tax benefit is available for nursery and other pre-kindergarten programs.

The credit is more easily accessible to married couples filing returns jointly. If you're married but filing separately, the IRS requires that you show you covered more than half of the household expense to claim the credit. Additionally, you must live in the same home with the child for whom you’re claiming care credit for at least six months in a year. The good news is that you can claim the care credit for dependents up to 13 years of age.


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