What Is Form 2441: Child and Dependent Care Expenses?

Form 2441, Child and Dependent Care Expenses, is an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) form used to report child and dependent care expenses on your tax return in order to claim a tax credit for those expenses. If you paid someone, whether it be an individual or a care facility, to look after a child or another qualifying dependent so you could work or look for work, you may be eligible to use it to claim a tax credit.

Key Takeaways

  • IRS Form 2441 is completed by the taxpayer to report child and dependent care expenses paid for the year.
  • This form must be filed if you’re planning to claim a credit for child and dependent care expenses.
  • Completing Form 2441 doesn’t guarantee that you’re eligible for the child and dependent care tax credit.

Who Can File Form 2441: Child and Dependent Care Expenses?

The IRS spells out specific guidelines on who is eligible to claim the child and dependent care tax credit and what the credit is worth. Qualified care expenses, which include household services, were paid if you paid someone to care for a dependent in your home. Care expenses paid to a child or dependent care center also qualify. The following must be true.

  • The amounts paid for care were paid so you could work or look for work. (The same applies to your spouse if you’re married and file a joint return.)
  • The expenses were paid for an eligible dependent, which includes a qualifying child under 13, a disabled spouse, or another disabled individual whom you are able to claim as a dependent and for whom you paid care expenses

The credit, which reduces your tax liability, can be worth 20% to 35% of some or all of the dependent care expenses you paid for the year. The credit maxes out at $2,100 for 2020, but Congress may approve COVID relief granting up to $3,000 per child under age 16 and $3,600 for children under.

The American Rescue Plan, signed by President Biden on March 11, 2021, made some changes to the Child and Dependent Credit for 2021. Originally capped at 35% of eligible expenses up to $2,100, the Child and Dependent Credit is now capped at 50% of eligible expenses up to $4,000 for one qualifying individual and $8,000 for two or more dependents. In addition, the credit is entirely refundable for 2021.

What Is Form 2441 Used for?

Form 2441 is used to figure the amount of child and dependent care expenses for which you may able to claim a tax credit. Filling out this form doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be eligible for the credit. Instead, it’s used to help you calculate what the credit may be worth to you if you qualify. You complete this form and attach it to Form 1040 when filing your taxes.

How to Fill Out and Read Form 2441: Child and Dependent Care Expenses

Form 2441 is a two-page document that requires you to include specific information about your dependents and child care expenses.

Here are the most important boxes to note:

  • Part I: This section is where you enter information about the care provider, including the provider’s name, address, tax identification number (TIN), and the amount you paid for care.
  • Part II: Here you include the name(s) of any qualified person for whom you paid expenses, his or her tax ID number, and the amount of expenses paid.
  • Part III: This is where you enter details about any dependent care benefits you receive for any of the qualifying persons you listed in Part II.
Form 2441
Form 2441.

All pages of Form 2441 are available on the IRS website.

You can complete Form 2441 by hand, but it may be easier to use online tax filing software.

Where to Get Form 2441: Child and Dependent Care Expenses

It's important to remember that your child and dependent care providers won’t send this form to you. You’re responsible for completing it and filing it with your taxes. Again, if you’re using a tax software program to do that, you may have the option to fill it out electronically. If you need a paper copy, you can find Form 2441 on the IRS website.

Can Form 2441 Be E-Filed?

If you’re filing your tax return electronically, you can file Form 2441 along with your Form 1040. When selecting an e-filing tax program, check to make sure whether it asks questions about child and dependent care expenses.

Where to Mail Form 2441

If you’re planning to file a paper return, you can fill out Form 2441 by hand and mail it with your return. The mailing address will depend on where you live. You can find a complete listing of mailing addresses for tax returns on the IRS website.