Maximizing Savings: How to Claim Summer Camp Expenses on Your Taxes

Summer break is almost here and while you may have already signed the kids up for summer camp, you may be wondering if summer camp is tax deductible.


Mar. 30 2023, Updated 10:19 a.m. ET

Summer break is creeping up, and that means it’s almost time to send the kids off to camp. Whether they’re going to soccer camp, sleepaway camp, or a summer day camp, it’s a welcomed break for you and a great opportunity for them to socialize and have fun!

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It isn't a secret that summer camp can be pricey, and while many families may skip summer camp due to inflation, others are sticking with their plans and looking for ways to save.

So, is summer camp tax deductible? Here's what we know.

Is summer camp tax deductible?

If you pay a daycare center, babysitter, summer camp, or other providers to help care for a child under 13, you may qualify for a tax credit of up to 35 percent of qualifying expenses or up to $3,000 for one child or dependent and up to $6,000 for two or more children or dependents.

So yes, technically summer camp may be tax deductible… under certain circumstances. You may be able to claim the cost of a sports camp, art camp, fitness camp, or any other type of day camp, but overnight camps aren't included.

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Who can claim summer camp expenses?

If you’re a working parent with school-age children or dependents, you may be eligible to claim summer camp expenses on your taxes through the Child and Dependent Care Credit. Since summer day camps count as dependent care, they're considered childcare by the IRS and will help offset the costs.

And while you can claim the costs related to the camp itself, such as attendance fees, you can't claim any additional expenses like a sleeping bag, clothing, art supplies, or a soccer ball.

How can you claim summer camp expenses on your taxes?

To claim summer camp expenses on your taxes, you’ll first need to find out if you’re eligible. Here are six steps to find out about your eligibility:

  • Your income: Both parents and guardians must have income that is reported to the IRS. So, if one is a stay-at-home parent, you won't qualify. If you’re divorced, the custodial parent can claim the credit as long as they’re working or actively looking for work.
  • Your child’s age: Children and dependents must be under the age of 13 to qualify.
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  • Day camps only: While the type of camp doesn’t matter, you can only claim the cost of day camps. Sleepaway and overnight camps don't qualify.
  • Direct payments: Payments must be made directly to the camp or the institution that offers the camp. Keep all your receipts and records and when it’s time to file taxes, you’ll need to include the address and either the Social Security number or employer identification number for the summer camp.
  • No camping supplies: Camping supplies and gear can't be taken as deductions or counted towards the credit. Expenses must be work-related and give you time to go to work or look for work.
  • Use form 2441: In order to get the tax credit, you will need to fill out Form 2441 Child and Dependent Care Expenses and attach it to Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR.

So, this tax season, don't forget to claim your summer camp expenses to maximize your return!

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