Qualifying Services

Qualifying services are work-related dependent care services performed in order for you and your spouse if you are married to remain employed or to look for work.

Qualifying services can be provided:

  • provided the dependent regularly spends at least eight hours per day in your household, or the dependent is under age 13; and
  • By a dependent care center or facility if it provides care to six or more individuals (excluding residents of the center) and receives a fee, payment, or grant for the services. These services qualify only if the center complies with all the applicable state and municipal laws and regulations.

You must make payments for child and dependent care to someone you (and your spouse) cannot claim as a dependent. If you make payments to your child, he or she cannot be your dependent and must be age 19 or older by the end of the year. You cannot make payments to:

  • Your spouse
  • The parent of your qualifying individual if your qualifying individual is your child and under age 13.

Child and dependent care expenses must be work-related to qualify. Expenses are considered work-related only if both of the following are true:

  • They allow you (and your spouse if you are married) to work or look for work.
  • They are for a qualifying individual’s care.

Qualified nursery school expenses can be reimbursed, but kindergarten and grade school tuition expenses and the cost of overnight camp cannot be.

If qualifying care is provided in your home, the provider could be a housekeeper, nanny, live-in, or other individual, as long as his or her primary job is to provide qualifying dependent care services. In such cases, eligible expenses may include food and lodging for the caregiver.