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IRS Publication 503
A Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) reimburses for work-related child and dependent care expenses. IRS Publication 503 is generally used by individual taxpayers in determining their deductible dependent care expense. You can use IRS Publication 503 as a guide for eligible dependent care FSA expenses.

This publication explains a number of rules for these accounts.
  • Married and unmarried parents – This includes rules for working; looking for work; full-time students; and spouses who are unable to care for themselves.
  • Qualifying persons – The care must be for a qualifying person.
  • Eligible care providers – This includes a licensed child care facility, an adult day care center and a summer day camp. Publication 503 also tells you who is not an eligible provider.
  • Annual reimbursements – This is based on your tax filing, marital status and earned income.
  • Tax filing – You must file Form 2441 with your income tax return, even when you are being reimbursed through a FSA.
IRS publication 503 explains the Child and Dependent Care tax credit. The rules for the Dependent Care FSA are based on this tax credit. Note: You can't receive reimbursement and take the tax credit for the same expense.

For your dependent care FSA, you have to incur the expense during the time that you have coverage under the FSA. An expense is incurred at the time the dependent care is provided. This is not when you're billed, or pay, for the care. (The tax credit allows for expenses paid, not just incurred, during the year.)

Note: All spending accounts have limitations and may have certain exclusions, please refer to your employer's plan documents for specific information about your plan.

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