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Cash & Expenses

Tax credit if you paid for child care or dependent care

Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit | NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) / Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

1. How it Works

The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit reimburses you if you paid for child care or care for a dependent. When you claim this credit when filing a tax return, you can lower the taxes you owe and potentially increase your refund.

  • File a federal and New York State 2021 tax return by April 18, 2022 to claim the credit.
  • For 2021, this tax credit is worth up to:
    • $4,000 for one dependent; or
    • $8,000 for two or more dependents.
  • You can claim the credit if you have work-related expenses. These are expenses that you paid to care for a dependent so that you could work or look for work.
    • An example is paying someone or an organization to look after your child.

2. Determine your eligibility

To be eligible for the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, you should be able to answer yes to these questions:

  1. Do you pay someone or an organization to care for your dependent so that you (and your spouse, if filing a joint return) could work or look for work? Qualifying dependents are:
    • a child under age 13 at the time of care; or
    • a spouse or dependent who cannot physically or mentally care for themselves.
  2. Did the dependent live with you for more than half the tax year?
  3. Do you (and your spouse if you file taxes jointly) earn income? These can be from wages, salaries, tips, other taxable employee money, or earnings from self-employment.
  4. Is your tax filing status single, married filing jointly, head of household or qualifying widow(er) with a dependent child?
  5. If you are married, do both you and your spouse work outside of the home?
    • Or, do one of you work outside of the home while the other is a full-time student, has a disability, or is looking for work?


Take a short survey to see if you might be eligible for this or 30 other programs.

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3. What you need to include

It’s important to include the right documents when you apply. Your documents show whether the program is right for you.

This page can help you choose the right documents for your application.

If you want to receive your refund through direct deposit, you will need banking information (voided check and/or savings deposit slip).

You should bring a copy of last year’s return, if it is available. The income documents listed are necessary to file your taxes.

Proof of who you are

  • For each person applying, any one document:Drivers license/official photo ID
  • Social Security Card for dependents
  • Social Security Card or ITIN

Proof of your income

Next section:

4. How to Apply

4. How to apply

Here are your options.

Apply online

If you earned $72,000 or less in 2021, you can file your taxes for free with NYC Free Tax Prep. IRS-certified VITA/TCE volunteer preparers are available to help you file.

  • Virtual Tax Prep: A preparer can help you file your tax return during a 60-90 minute virtual call.
  • Assisted Self-Prep: Complete your tax return on your own. A preparer will be available by phone or email to answer your questions.

File online

Apply in person

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We can send you a link to this page to help you get back to it when you’re ready.

More ways to get help with this program

Visit the websites

Learn more about the 2021 Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit from the IRS. Learn more about other tax credits from the NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection. Immigrants can make an appointment with ActionNYC to receive assistance.

Call 311

Ask for Tax Preparation assistance.

Find a VITA or TCE location

Call 800-906-9887 to find the nearest Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) or Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE).

Last Updated Thursday, February 10th, 12:17pm

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