Deductible Day Care

Today TaxMama® hears from Mel  in the TaxQuips Forum, with this reasonable question.  “I have a client who sends their 5 year old to a private Christian school for pre-K. Can this be deductible like daycare?

Is private school deductible at all in the upper grades?”


Hi Mel, 

The pre-K costs can be applied towards the Child and Dependent Care Credit. Yes.

Once they are in kindergarten or above, the private school costs are no longer deductible.

However, (see, there’s always an exception – or two) if part of the costs include after-school care, that is deductible for children under the age of 13.
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(See instructions to Form 2441)

Also, religious school tuition often includes a donation component. Find out what that is by looking at the itemized invoices.
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Many, many, many years, in the distant mists of time, my brother was the treasurer for his children’s elementary school. They were audited. It seems that many of the parents were claiming their entire tuition payment as charitable contributions.

That’s when I learned:

a) You can’t do that.

b) The school may include a certain amount of donation component – but not a major part of the tuition.

And remember, you can find answers to all kinds of questions about child care credits and other tax and business issues, free. Where? Where else? At

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