Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts

The Dependent Care FSA allows for a tax break on qualified child care or elder care expenses that you incur when you (and your spouse) are at work. You can set aside up to $5,000 per household, per calendar year, in these benefit plans — and the savings can be significant.

A Dependent Care FSA is a pretax savings account that allows you to lower your taxable income if you are incurring expenses while you work related to the care of an eligible dependent child(ren) under the age of 13, or a disabled adult dependent that lives with you at least eight hours per day and is incapable of self-care. If you are married, both you and your spouse must be working or attending school full-time to be eligible to participate. If you have a stay-at-home spouse, you should not enroll in the Dependent Care FSA.

A few  examples of eligible expenses are: 

  • Daycare 
  • Nanny, au pair or babysitter 
  • Housekeeper who provides care for an eligible dependent (only the expense portion related to  care) 
  • After-school care programs only if the expenses are itemized separately from tuition expense
  • Adult daycare 

Ineligible expenses include: 

  • Overnight camps
  • Costs that are primarily for educational purposes such as tutoring
  • Care provided by a dependent, your spouse or your child under the age of 19
  • Care provided while you are not at work. 

Click here for complete list of eligible expenses.  

2022 Dependent Care FSA Quick Tips

The minimum annual election is $100; the maximum is $5,000 ($2,500 if you are married and file a separate tax return).

In general, the rules of the Dependent Care FSA follow that of the Health Care FSA except that any remaining funds in a Dependent Care FSA at the end of a Plan Year cannot be rolled over to the next Plan Year. A grace period for filing claims may apply, however.

You can only claim expenses for services that have been provided. The IRS does not permit reimbursement for future services. For example, if you are required to pre-pay all of January’s child care expenses on January 1, you cannot claim the entire month’s expense until the end of January. Alternatively, you could claim one week’s worth of expenses every week at the end of each week.

Remember: your election is fixed for the entire year unless you have a qualifying event.

Dependent Care FSA FAQ

If your claim is more than the amount you have in your dependent care account, Flex Made Easy will reimburse you up to the amount that is in your account and reimburse the balance of your claim once your account accrues more funds.

No, you will only have access to dependent care funds that have been deducted from your paycheck for the Plan Year to date.

Whether the Dependent Care Account or the tax credit is more advantageous to you depends on your personal tax situation. Unfortunately, we cannot provide tax advice to you. You should consult your tax advisor or visit for more on this topic.

The grace period allows additional time to spend the dollars that are in your account. Some plans provide a grace period enabling you to claim expenses, paid out-of-pocket in the Plan Year, up to 2 1/2 months after the end of the Plan Year. Your employer must elect a grace period in order for you to participate.

Your care provider does not have to be licensed unless their care extends to enough individuals to require licensing in your state. The provider must provide you with their Tax ID or Social Security number, as this will be required when filing your Federal income tax return.

The provider can be a relative of yours, even if they live in your home, as long as they are not dependents. The following do not qualify as a provider:

  • A dependent for whom you (or your spouse, if filing jointly) can claim as an exemption
  • Your child who was under age 19 at the end of the year, even if he or she was not your  dependent
  • A person who was your spouse any time during the year
  • The parent of your qualifying person if your qualifying person is your child and under age 13

In order for your Dependent Care FSA reimbursement request to be approved, you must either (a) have your care provider sign the Flex Made Easy claim form (no additional documentation is required) or (b) include a detailed statement of services that lists:

  • Service period
  • Name of the individual receiving services
  • Amount charged
  • Service description
  • Name of the provider
  • Tax ID or Social Security number of your provider

Summer day camps can qualify for reimbursement through your Dependent Care FSA, if the primary purpose of these camps is for care and well-being in order for you (or you and your spouse, if married) to be gainfully employed.

Overnight camps do not qualify. Furthermore, charges cannot be prorated for the portion of care during the day while you were working.


IRS-Qualified Medical Expenses

Common expenses claimed against Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs), Health Care Flexible…
IRS Publication 503 (dependent care expense)
Recurring Dependent Care Expense Request Form