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Eligible Childcare Expense?


Guest Paperwork Lady
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Guest Paperwork Lady

Hello,

What constitutes 'primary care' of a child? Most older children (9-12) are not placed in day care facilities; they go to some sort of camp.

I've seen claims denied because soccer camp isn't 'primary care.' Does that definition turn on the mission of the organization hosting the camp? Or the parent's intention in placing them there?

What does the IRS use to determine eligibility? Pub. 503 says:

The cost of sending your child to a day camp may be a
work-related expense, even if the camp specializes in a
particular activity, such as computers or soccer.
What is the qualifying test behind the words 'may be'?
One benefits administrator requires parents to submit a statement saying the camp is for the child's care and well-being.
Thanks,
PL
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#7 here may help explain the "care and well-being" question: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Keep-the-Child-Care-Credit-in-Mind-for-Summer Note they say that tutoring does not count. The distinction being that a tutor is not hired to care for the child, merely to instruct. I could see some soccer "camps" merely being large practice and instruction sessions with no real element of care.

The reason the IRS uses the word "may" is to say that it still has to meet other requirements for it to be such.

Kurt Vonnegut: 'To be is to do'-Socrates 'To do is to be'-Jean-Paul Sartre 'Do be do be do'-Frank Sinatra

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Guest Paperwork Lady

Thanks very much.

I can't find anything that sets guidelines for what 'care' is, other than the opinion of the benefit administrator. I have found two providers who require a statement from the parent declaring the purpose to be for care.

The language is vague in my plan documents; purpose has to be primary or custodial care. Does the camp mission define the purpose? Do I? Does my boss? Does the IRS? If so, where? If I sign a medical waiver, is that custody?

My daughter is 12, there is very little in my large city that is 'day care' for that age. Everything is specialty camps. What 'care' does a 12 year old need?

Ironically, the soccer camp she goes to provides far more individual attention and guidance than the warehouse style day care my 9 yo goes to. Sixty screaming kids herded from place to place by 16 year olds, vs. 12 kids given undivided attention by an adult coach, with utmost care paid to their hydration, emotional and physical well being.

Also, ironically, the soccer camps I pick are because they are geographically close to my work, and cheaper than they YMCA, and more readily enable me to be gainfully employed. Which, uh, is the intent of the regulation, or so I thought.

Paychex allows them; the two person shop my company switched to is using the strictest possible definition.

Splitting hairs. At the end of the day, I have just lost this benefit. Sucks.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Publication 503 specifically addresses "Camp" as a possible source of reimbursable day care. It reads:

 

Camp.

The cost of sending your child to an overnight camp is not considered a work-related expense.

The cost of sending your child to a day camp may be a work-related expense, even if the camp specializes in a particular activity, such as computers or soccer.

You might take this to the Plan Administrator and request consideration.

Good luck

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