Preschool and pre-kindergarten programs may qualify for a tax credit for children who are too young to attend school. These programs double as a child care service, making the cost eligible for the Child and Dependent Care Credit. Kindergarten costs are generally not eligible for any tax credits or deductions. The IRS does not offer tax breaks for the education expenses incurred for students in kindergarten through high school. However, certain costs for your kindergarten child may be deductible.
Education credits and tuition deductions are reserved for higher education expenses. Kindergarten is a mandatory requirement in some states and offered for free at public schools. In New York, kindergarten attendance is mandatory for five-year-olds. In Massachusetts, kindergarten attendance is not mandatory, but state regulations require all public school districts to offer a free kindergarten program for residents. Other states, including Florida, require children who reach six years of age by February 1 to enroll by the following school year.
The Child and Dependent Care Credit helps alleviate the cost of child care while parents work. To qualify, the parents must earn income, be actively seeking employment or attending college full-time. For children that are of school age, the child care credit does not apply to kindergarten tuition. However, before or after-school care costs beyond the basic school day are eligible for the Child and Dependent Care Credit. In addition, the credit also applies to vacation care, weekend babysitters and day camps.
Private school tuition is generally not deductible. However, if your child has learning disabilities caused by mental or physical impairments, the cost of private kindergarten tuition may qualify as a medical expense. To be classified a qualified deduction, your doctor must recommend that the child attend the private school. The main reason for using the school and its resources must be for relieving the disability.
A Coverdell Education Savings Account helps parents save for education expenses. You can contribute up to $2,000 annually for each child. Your contributions grow tax-free within the account. Withdrawals you make to cover education expenses are tax-free. Qualified costs include kindergarten through post-secondary school tuition, fees, books and supplies.
- Kiplinger: FAQs on the Child-Care Tax Credit
- IRS: Coverdell Education Savings Accounts
- Mass Resources: Massachusetts Public Schools K-12: Kindergarten
- Sussan and Greenwald: Is Tuition Deductible?
- The New York Times: Bill Is Passed to Make Kindergarten Mandatory for 5-Year-Olds
- Children’s Defense Fund: Full-Day Kindergarten in Florida