Dependent Care FSA - Eligible Expenses
The primary source of this information is IRS Publication 503, however, it has been paraphrased and/or modified to provide information specific to Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA).

Please be aware, expenses are eligible when they are incurred (when services are rendered), not when they are paid.

The titles and content of this page is offered for general information only. Please consult a qualified tax advisor for specific information.

What Is the Definition of Dependent Care?

The term Dependent Care covers the custodial services you may require for your dependents so you may work, or if you are married, so both you and your spouse may work.

When is an expense eligible for reimbursement?

Expenses are eligible for reimbursement if they were incurred during the period when the participant was covered under the plan. Expenses are incurred when services are rendered, regardless of when the expense is paid.

Who are qualified dependents that may require care?

Persons living with you that spend a minimum of eight (8) hours a day in your home including:

  • Spouse. Provided your spouse is mentally or physically incapable of self-care.
  • Natural Child
  • Step-child.
  • Adopted child.
  • Any other individuals that you claim as a dependent on your personal income tax including but not limited to parents.
    What expenses are eligible?

    Qualified expenses include amounts you paid for household services and the care of the qualifying person while you worked or looked for work. Child support payments are not qualified expenses.

    Household services are those needed to care for the qualified person as well as to run the home. They include cook, maid, babysitter, housekeeper, or cleaning person if the services were partly for the care of the qualifying person. You can also include your share of the employment taxes paid on wages for qualifying child and dependent care services.

    Care of the qualifying person includes the cost of services for the qualifying person's well-being and protection. It does not include the cost of clothing or entertainment.

    You can include the cost of care provided outside your home for your dependent under age 13 or any other qualifying person who regularly spends at least 8 hours a day in your home. If the care was provided by a dependent care center, the center must meet all applicable state and local regulations.

    You can include amounts paid for items other than care of your child (such as food or school) only if the items are incidental to the care of the child and cannot be separated from the total cost. But do not include the cost of schooling for a child in kindergarten or above. Also, do not include any expenses for sending a child to an overnight camp.

    More information can be obtained by requesting IRS Publication 2441.

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