View child and dependent related deductions

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

You can choose between the 2 following deductions: 

  1. Child care expenses deduction:
    • For children under age 13
    • Disabled dependent or spouse
  2. Dependent member(s) of household deduction:
    • For children under age 12
    • Dependents age 65 or older
    • Disabled dependents

If you qualify for both, you're only allowed the greater of the 2 deductions. You cannot claim both deductions.

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 deduction

You may claim this deduction if you're a:

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

Please note if you are married filing separate you do not qualify for this deduction. If you are filing a joint federal 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 or $9,600 maximum amounts.

You're allowed a personal income tax deduction for amounts 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 expense deduction on the amount of qualifying expenses used to compute the federal child care credit under I.R.C. § 21.

This deduction:

  • 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 $4,800 for 1 qualifying individual and $9,600 for 2 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) 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 deduction on your tax return

  • Residents:
    1. Complete the Line 12 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 12 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 12.
  • Part-year residents: 
    1. Complete the Line 16 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 16 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 16.
  • Nonresidents:
    1. Complete the Line 16 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 16 worksheet, Lines 2 and 3, come from U.S. Form 2441, Lines 4 and 5.
    3. To find out how much you're allowed, multiply the amount reported in Line 6 of the worksheet by Form 1-NR/PY, Line 14g, Deduction and Exemption Ratio.
    4. If you qualify, enter the amount from Line 7 of the worksheet on Form 1-NR/PY, Line 16.

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 deduction

You may claim this deduction 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 deduction.

This deduction applies to households with either children under age 12 and/or with eligible elderly or disabled members who qualify as dependents under I.R.C. § 152.

This deduction is $3,600 for a single dependent and $7,200 for 2 or more dependents. The deduction is limited to a maximum of $7,200 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 older - The dependent cannot be you or your spouse at the end of the tax year

To claim the deduction on your tax return

  • Residents:
    1. Enter the number of dependents under age 12, dependents age 65 or older, or disabled dependents on Form 1, Line 13a.
    2. Multiply Line 13a by $3,600 (up to a total of $7,200).
    3. Enter the total on Form 1, Line 13.
  • Part-year residents: 
    1. Enter the number of dependents under age 12, dependents age 65 or older, or disabled dependents on Form 1-NR/PY, Line 17a.
    2. Multiply Line 17a by $3,600 (up to a total of $7,200).
    3. Multiply the amount reported on Line 17a by Line 3, Part-Year Resident Ratio.
    4. Enter the result on Form 1-NR/PY, Line 17.
  • Nonresidents: 
    1. Enter the number of dependents under age 12, dependents age 65 or older, or disabled dependents on Form 1-NR/PY, Line 17a.
    2. Multiply Line 17a by $3,600 (up to a total of $7,200).
    3. Multiply the amount reported on Line 17a by Line 14g, Deduction and Exemption Ratio.
    4. Enter the result on Form 1-NR/PY, Line 17.

Documents to submit with abatement/amended tax return

  • Dependent's birth date
  • Dependent's Social Security number

 

Page updated: February 10, 2020

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