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, or
    • Disabled dependent or spouse
  2. Dependent member(s) of household deduction:
    • For children under age 12
    • Dependents age 65 or older, or
    • 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

If you're a:

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

You may claim this deduction. Married filing separate taxpayers do not qualify for this deduction. If you 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 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 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, or Copy of U.S. 1040A, Schedule 2
  • Copy of W-2 showing employment-provided dependent care benefits

Additional Resources for Child care expenses deduction

Dependent member(s) of household deduction

If you're a:

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

You may claim this deduction. 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

Additional Resources for Dependent member(s) of household deduction

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