Tax season is upon us, and while some of you (me) are anxiously waiting for your tax returns to clear your bank accounts, others may still be trying to get all of their Ts crossed and Is dotted before sending in their paperwork, because everyone wants to get as much money back as possible — especially if you have kids. Kids are expensive, y’all, especially when it comes to child care and education. So you may be wondering if preschool's tax deductible in 2019, because every little bit helps.
According to a Turbotax FAQ, the simple answer is yes. “Nursery school, preschool, and similar pre-kindergarten programs are considered child care by the IRS. Summer day camps also count as child care.” An H&R Block article noted that this is possible by claiming the child and dependent care credit. Forbes also reported that if your kid is younger than kindergarten age (and not in kindergarten), education credits and deductions are applicable if they’re enrolled in preschool or nursery school.
So technically, yes, preschool is tax deductible, but only through the child and dependent care credit. Preschool qualifies for the child and dependent care credit the same way day care would, but there are a few requirements. Both spouses need to be working or one should be looking for a job, or one spouse can be a full-time student; you paid caregiving expenses (i.e., preschool or daycare) to someone who wasn’t your spouse; and you and your partner are filing jointly. So “you cannot file with the ‘Married Filing Separately’ filing status (except under certain circumstances),” TurboTax noted.
Those “certain circumstances” include if “you paid more than half the cost of maintaining a household for the year, both you and the qualifying person must have used the home as your main residence for more than half of the tax year, and your spouse wasn’t a member of the household during the last six months of the tax year,” according to an H&R Block article.
So how much could you potentially be getting back? According to TurboTax, “The credit is worth anywhere from 20 percent to 35 percent of your qualified expenses, up to $3,000 (for one qualifying person) and $6,000 (for two or more qualifying persons).” But don’t get this confused with the child tax credit, where you get up to $2,000 just for your child being born. So having a kid and putting them in preschool could potentially benefit you financially for once. How about that?
Good news, everyone. Yes, your child’s preschool expense is tax deductible, but only through the child and dependent care credit. As long as you qualify for that, you can absolutely claim your child’s preschool expenses on your tax return forms. And don’t forget to also check into the child tax credit to make sure you’re getting all the money back you can. Like I said, kids are expensive, y’all, and they’ll just continue to get more and more expensive as they get older. So help them help you by using them for your taxes.