I know I alluded to kids and day camp not too long ago when our driveway was ground zero for the neighborhood skateboarders' personal X Games.
But in clearing out the way too many photos on my phone, I ran across this snapshot of a day camp flyer on the local coffee shop's bulletin board and I couldn't resist.
I guess I shouldn't crack wise. As a middle schooler -- we called it junior high back in my day -- I went off to twirling camp.
Baton twirling, not spinning around in a circle, although given the increasingly creative camp options, that latter experience might be a camp possibility somewhere.
But I digress.
Aside from getting a kick out of a camp devoted to throwing a plastic disc, I wanted to take advantage of the Frisbee camp to remind parents to hold onto their kids' day camp receipts.
Sending the young'uns to day camp during the summer is not just a welcome break for many parents. It also can provide some moms and dads a tax break on their annual tax returns.
Percentages, not full expenses: Up to $3,000 for the care of one kid and $6,000 for two or more youngsters can be counted toward this poplar tax credit. Unfortunately, you can't count those thousands of dollars as your actual tax credit claim.
Instead, the tax code lets you claim a percentage of your dependent care expenses.
Your precise percentage claim, which ranges from 35 percent to 20 percent, depends on your income. The less you make, the larger your claim.
Folks making $15,000 or less can claim 35 percent of their eligible child care costs. Parents making more than $43,000 can claim only 20 percent of their costs.
Once the calculations are done, the maximum child and dependent care credit claim is $2,100. Here's the math:
$6,000 spent on care for three kids
x 35 percent =
$2,100 child care tax credit claim
Granted, $2,100 is not much in the grand scheme of all that parents spend on caring for their kids or paying someone to help with that task.
But every amount helps.
And it's a tax credit, which reduces your tax bill dollar-for-dollar.
Other care credit limits: Note, however, that the child and dependent care credit is not refundable. It can zero out your tax bill, but if you have excess credit you cannot get it back as a tax refund.
Also keep in mind that you can only count day camp costs.
So while you might really enjoy the peace and quiet of young Jane or Joey spending a week at Camp Granada, you won't get any tax help for that extended parental break.
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