I am preparing 2013 tax return forms. Here is the thing: I took the kid to autism therapy several times, and a related conference. I also took the kid to an autism training organization and paid the fee myself.

If the kid is over 19 years old, and depends on me, can I claim the dependent care credit?

Do I have to provide the receipts? I perhaps lost them but can estimate the number.

1 Answer 1


The rules can be a bit complicated, and depend on whether having the care in place provided you the opportunity to work or seek employment.

From Publication 17:

To be work-related, your expenses must allow you to work or look for work. If you are married, generally both you and your spouse must work or look for work. One spouse is treated as working during any month he or she is a full-time student or is not physically or mentally able to care for himself or herself.

Your work can be for others or in your own business or partnership. It can be either full time or part time.

Work also includes actively looking for work. However, if you do not find a job and have no earned income for the year, you cannot take this credit. See Earned Income Test , earlier.

An expense is not considered work-related merely because you had it while you were working. The purpose of the expense must be to allow you to work. Whether your expenses allow you to work or look for work depends on the facts.

Consequently, it really depends on your employment status, but there are requirements to determine if the nature of the program is a "care center".

A dependent care center is a place that provides care for more than six persons (other than persons who live there) and receives a fee, payment, or grant for providing services for any of those persons, even if the center is not run for profit.

To determine whether a dependent over aged 13 can qualify (the age limits are different for the Child and Dependent Care credit than for whether the child can be your dependent):

Physically or mentally not able to care for oneself. Persons who cannot dress, clean, or feed themselves because of physical or mental problems are considered not able to care for themselves. Also, persons who must have constant attention to prevent them from injuring themselves or others are considered not able to care for themselves.

The IRS would probably require you to have some form of medical documentation of the condition of the individual that is being cared for. The receipts would be required if your return was audited, but as long as you have them, you don't need to enclose them.

Since much of this answer depends on your individual situation, it's best to consult with an EA/CPA or attorney that knows all of the facts of your return.

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