View child and dependent related credits

If you're taking care of a child or a dependent or disabled person, you may be able to claim certain credits on your Massachusetts personal income tax return.

Updated: March 3, 2022

When filing your Form 1 or Form 1-NR/PY return, you can choose between the following 2 credits:

  1. Child care expenses credit:
    • For children under age 13
    • Disabled dependent or spouse.
  2. Dependent member(s) of household credit:
    • For children under age 12
    • Dependents age 65 or over (as of December 31, 2021)
    • Disabled dependents.

If you qualify for both, you cannot claim 2 credits. You are only allowed the greater of the 2 credits. 

A "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 no less than 12 months.

Child care expenses credit

You may claim this credit if you're a:

  • Single taxpayer
  • Taxpayer filing as head of household
  • Married taxpayer filing joint.

Please note:

  • If you are married filing a separate U.S. Form 1040, you do not qualify for this credit. 
  • If you are filing a joint federal return but are married filing separately for Massachusetts purposes, you or your spouse may claim the credit for expenses you or your spouse incurred, but your combined credit cannot exceed the $240 or $480 maximum amounts.
  • You are allowed a personal income tax credit for expenses you 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 expenses credit on the amount of qualifying expenses used to compute the federal child care credit under I.R.C. § 21.

The child care expenses credit:

  • Is not limited to the amount of employment-related expenses allowed for determining the Federal Credit for Child and Dependent Care Expenses calculated on U.S. Form 2441.
  • Cannot exceed $240 for 1 qualifying individual and $480 for 2 or more qualifying individuals.
    • The credit is limited to a maximum of $480, regardless of the total number of dependent household members.
  • Must be reduced by the Dependent Care Benefits (DCB) you received (as shown on your W-2). Exclude any amounts an employer paid or incurred to any employee for caring or assisting your dependents from your gross income.

To see if you qualify and/or are eligible to claim the credit on your tax return:

  • Residents:
    1. Complete the Line 45 worksheet (Child Under Age 13 or Disabled Dependent/Spouse Care Expenses) in Form 1 Instructions.
    2. If filing a joint return, each spouse separately computes earned income. The amounts on the Line 45 worksheet, Lines 2 and 3, come from U.S. Form 2441, Lines 4 and 5.
    3. If you qualify, enter the amount from Line 6 of the worksheet on Form 1, Line 45.
  • Part-year residents: 
    1. Complete the Line 49 worksheet (Child Under Age 13 or Disabled Dependent/Spouse Care Expenses) in Form 1-NR/PY Instructions.
    2. If filing a joint return, each spouse separately computes earned income. The amounts on the Line 49 worksheet, Lines 2 and 3, come from U.S. Form 2441, Lines 4 and 5.
    3. If you qualify, enter the amount from Line 7 of the worksheet on Form 1-NR/PY, Line 49.
  • Nonresidents: You cannot claim this credit if you are a nonresident taxpayer for the entire taxable year.

Documents to submit with abatement/amended tax return

  • Copy of U.S. Form 2441 - Child and Dependent Care Expenses
  • Copy of W-2 showing employment-provided dependent care benefits

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Dependent member(s) of household credit

You may claim this credit if you're a:

  • Single taxpayer
  • Taxpayer filing as head of household
  • Married taxpayer filing joint.

Married filing separate taxpayers do not qualify for this credit.

This credit applies to households with:

  • Children under age 12 and/or
  • Members 65 or over (as of December 31, 2021) or disabled members who qualify as dependents under I.R.C. § 152.

The credit is:

  • $180 for 1 dependent and 
  • $360 for 2 or more dependents.

The credit is limited to a maximum of $360, regardless of the total number of dependent household members.

For a dependent:

  • Who is a child under age 12 - The child must be a member of your household and under age 12 at the end of the tax year
  • Who is age 65 or over (as of December 31, 2021) - The dependent cannot be you or your spouse at the end of the tax year.

To claim the credit on your tax return

  • Residents:
    1. Enter the number of qualified dependents under age 12, dependents age 65 or over (as of December 31, 2021), or disabled dependents on Form 1, Line 46a. Line 46A cannot exceed two.
    2. Multiply Line 46a by $180 (up to a total of $360).
    3. Enter the total on Form 1, Line 46.
  • Part-year residents: 
    1. Enter the number of qualified dependents under age 12, dependents age 65 or over (as of December 31, 2021), or disabled dependents on Form 1-NR/PY, Line 50a. Line 50A cannot exceed two.
    2. Multiply Line 50a by $180 (up to a total of $360).
    3. Enter the result on Form 1-NR/PY, Line 50.
  • Nonresidents: You cannot claim this credit if you are a nonresident taxpayer for the entire taxable year.

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