With millions of dollars going towards childcare every year, it is vital to take advantage of every program that offers some kind of relief to working parents and helps them find cheap child care. The Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA) is one such opportunity that would help you soften the blow of your childcare expenses.
Dependent Day Care Flexible Spending Account Benefits
Working parents know how expensive it can be to provide quality childcare for their kids. A dependent day care flexible spending account, or more commonly known as the ‘cafeteria plan’, is an employer sponsored account which allows you to set aside portions of your income in the form of pre-tax dollars and use them for your childcare expenses. Over 90% of employers offer these dependent care FSA programs now and it is up to you to decide how much you would like to set aside each month. The dependent care flexible spending account can be used for daycares, babysitters, summer camps, nurseries or any other childcare related expenses. The dependent care flexible account helps you reduce your total dependent care expenses as you would end up spending much more if you paid for these services with after-tax dollars.
FSA Eligible Items: How It Works
The dependent care flexible spending account is a completely voluntary plan. If your employer offers this plan then you must determine if it is beneficial for you and how to make it work for you. In order to determine FSA eligible expenses, your child must be under the age of 13 or you must be caring for a dependent unable of self-care. The dependent care flexible spending account benefit can be claimed if you and your spouse are both working while you pay someone else to take care of your children. The dependent care FSA allows you to set aside up to $5000 every year. The amount you choose is deducted from your payroll and put into a separate account. After claiming tax-free reimbursement as FSA eligible items or expenses, this amount can be used to pay for child care needs. The dependent care flexible spending account allows you to reduce your income taxes and thus increase your take-home pay.
Comparing DCFSA to Dependent Care Tax Credit
The federal government allows several programs to help working parents with childcare expenses. These programs are designed keeping various types of families in mind. You must determine which plan works better for you based on your income and needs. The dependent care flexible spending account (DCFSA) is employer sponsored and the dependent care FSA benefits are seen in the form of payroll deductions from pretax dollars. The Dependent Care tax credit, on the other hand, allows a dollar-for-dollar credit on your income tax owed. However, reimbursements are not allowed, thus it proves to be more beneficial for higher income families. It must be kept in mind that only one of these programs can be used at a time so it is essential to choose wisely.
The Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account is very useful for working parents with little children to care for. The financial burden of childcare expenses can be greatly reduced by participating in the dependent care FSA and claiming FSA eligible expenses.
- Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA) – FSA Feds