Do you pay someone to watch your under-age-13 children while you and your spouse work? If so, you probably know that you can claim the dependent care credit, commonly called the "child care credit," for your qualified expenses. That includes your costs for day care centers, baby sitters and preschools.
Strategy: Grab the same tax credit when you send the kids to summer camp. Many taxpayers overlook this write-off.
The entire day-camp cost can qualify for the credit while your child is enjoying the great outdoors. Overnight camp costs do not qualify for the credit.
The tax break isn't just limited to generic day camps. It's also available for specialized summer camps, such as:
• Sports camps focusing on a single activity, such as baseball, football, basketball, hockey or volleyball.
• Academic camps to learn about computers or other areas of study.
• Fine arts camps for music, drama and art.
Tip: The credit is generally equal to 20 percent of your first $3,000 of qualified expenses for one child, or 20 percent of up to $6,000 for two or more children. Claim the credit on Form 2441, Child and Dependent Care Expenses, available at www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f2441.pdf.