General Rules

Taxpayers may choose between the following two deductions; if the taxpayer qualifies for both deductions, the allowable deduction is the greater of the two amounts. Under no circumstances may a taxpayer claim both deductions:

  • Child Care Expenses Deduction for Child under Age 13 or Disabled Dependent or Spouse; or
  • Dependent Member(s) of Household under Age 12, or Dependents Age 65 or Older, or Disabled Dependents Deduction.

Disabled Dependent Defined:
The term "disabled dependent" is defined as an individual who is permanently and totally disabled. This means that the person is unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity due to a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that can be expected to result in death or to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.


Child Care Expenses Deduction for Child under Age 13 or Disabled Dependent or Spouse

A deduction is allowed for amounts paid to care for a qualifying child, or a disabled dependent or spouse so that a taxpayer may work or look for work. Massachusetts bases its child care expense deduction on the amount of qualifying expenses used to compute the federal child care credit under Code section 21.

This deduction:

  • Is not limited to the amount of employment related expenses allowed for purposes of determining the Federal Credit for Child and Dependent Care Expenses calculated on U.S. Form 2441; but
  • cannot exceed the Massachusetts maximum allowable amount of $4,800 for one qualifying individual and $9,600 for two or more qualifying individuals. The deduction is limited to a maximum of $9,600 regardless of the total number of dependent household members;
  • must be reduced by the Dependent Care Benefits (DCB) received as shown on the W-2.

See Child or Dependent Care Assistance Programs (Dependent Care Benefits DCB) which amounts paid or incurred by an employer to any employee for care assistance of the employee's dependents are excluded from gross income.

Massachusetts follows the Code as in effect on January 1, 2005 which stipulates that the amount of the qualifying expenses upon which the credit is based must to be reduced by the amount of employer-provided child care benefits excluded from the taxpayer's federal gross income.

Married Filing Separate:
Taxpayers may not claim this deduction if married filing a separate U.S. 1040 or 1040A return. 

If taxpayers are filing a joint U.S. 1040 or 1040A return but are married filing separately for Massachusetts purposes, either spouse may claim the deduction for expenses he or she incurred, but their combined deduction cannot exceed the $4,800/$9,600 maximum amounts.

Qualification for Child Care Expenses Deduction is determined by completing the following worksheets:

  • for residents, the Line 12 Worksheet - Child under 13 or Disabled Dependent/Spouse Care Deduction;
  • for part-year residents who report only amounts paid while a Massachusetts resident, the Line 16 Worksheet - Child under 13 or Disabled Dependent/Spouse Care Deduction;
  • for nonresidents, the Line 16 Worksheet - Child under 13 or Disabled Dependent/Spouse Care Deduction. To determine amount allowable, they must multiply the amount reported in line 6 of the Line 12 Worksheet by Form 1-NR/PY, line 14g, Deduction and Exemption Ratio, since this deduction must be prorated based upon the amount of taxpayer's Massachusetts source income to his/her total income.

Line 12 Worksheet, Lines 2. and 3. - 1040 Earned Income
If filing a joint return, each spouse computes earned income separately. The amounts included in Lines 2 and 3 come from U.S. Form 2441, lines 4 and 5.


Dependent Member(s) of Household under Age 12, or Dependents Age 65 or Older, or Disabled Dependents Deduction

Single taxpayers, taxpayers filing as head of household and married taxpayers filing joint may claim the deduction for Dependent Member(s) of Household. This deduction applies to households with either children under the age of twelve and/or with eligible elderly or disabled members who qualify as dependents under I.R.C. Section 152.

This deduction is $3,600 for a single dependent and $7,200 for two or more dependents. The deduction is limited to a maximum of $7,200 regardless of the total number of dependent household members.

Married filing separate taxpayers do not qualify for this deduction.

For a dependent member:

  • who is a child under age 12 - the child must be a dependent as defined under the Internal Revenue Code, a member of the taxpayer's household and under the age of 12 at the close of the tax year;
  • who is a dependent age 65 or older - the dependent cannot be the taxpayer or the taxpayer's spouse as of the close of the tax year.

Where to Report on Original Return; What to Enclose

If claiming the Child Care Expenses Deduction

If claiming the Dependent Member(s) of Household Deduction

  • Enter the number of dependents under age 12 or dependents age 65 or older, or disabled dependents on either Mass Form 1, Line 13a or Form 1-NR/PY, Line 17a. Multiply 13a or 17a by $3,600 and enter the total on either Form 1, Line 13 or Form 1-NR/PY, Line 17.
  • Part-year residents determine the amount allowable by multiplying the amount reported in Line 17a by Form 1-NR/PY, Line 2, Part-Year Resident Ratio, since this deduction must be prorated based upon the number of days a Massachusetts resident.
  • Nonresidents determine amount allowable by multiplying the amount reported in 17a by Form 1-NR/PY, line 14g, Deduction and Exemption Ratio, since this deduction must be prorated based upon the amount of taxpayer's Massachusetts source income to his/her total income.

Documentation to Submit with Abatement/Amended Tax Return:

Child Care Expenses Deduction

  • Copy of U.S. Form 2441 - Child and Dependent Care Expenses, or Copy of U.S. 1040A, Schedule 2;
  • Copy of W-2 showing employment provided dependent care benefits.


Dependent Member(s) of Household

  • Birth date of dependent;
    Social Security number of dependent.

Massachusetts References:

Federal References:

  • I.R.C. §§ 21 as amended by P.L. 100-485, s. 703(a)(b) (1988); 21(e); (b)(1)(B); 22(e)(3); 151, 151(c)(5)(C); 152

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