IRS offers tax credit for summer camp expenses - East Valley Tribune: Nation / World

IRS offers tax credit for summer camp expenses

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Posted: Monday, July 25, 2011 11:16 pm

Working parents, take note: You could get some summertime tax relief from the IRS.

If you've enrolled your kids in summer day camps while you're at work -- or even while looking for work -- you may be eligible for a tax credit.

Under existing rules, up to 35 percent of qualifying day camp expenses can be claimed as a federal child-care tax credit for children under 13.

"We want to let parents know that a summer day camp can qualify for a tax credit, just as a day care center or hiring a baby sitter can qualify during the school year," said IRS spokesman Jesse Weller.

It's part of the federal child and dependent care tax credit, which allows a maximum 35 percent credit. For incomes above $43,000, the percentage drops to 20 percent.

Qualifying expenses for the tax credit are limited to $3,000 per year for one child or $6,000 for two or more. So if you're eligible for the maximum 35 percent with one child, you could claim a credit of $1,050.

There's even an IRS YouTube video ("Summer Day Camp Expenses") in English and Spanish. More details also are in IRS Publication 503, "Child and Dependent Care Expenses," available online at www.irs.gov or by calling (800) 829-3676 (TAX-FORM).

But note: Overnight camps don't count toward the day care tax credit. The only qualifying expenses are for day camps used by parents who are working or looking for work.

Here's another kids-and-taxes topic: If your teen is working this summer, the IRS recently issued a friendly reminder that his or her income is taxable, at any amount. That includes tips earned as a waitress or income from so-called "self-employment," such as baby-sitting or lawn mowing.

A teen's employer must withhold taxes. And if a teen earns more than $400 a year from self-employment, he or she will have to pay Social Security taxes as well.

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