Tax Credits, Employer Programs & Other Options

Child care assistance can come in many different forms. For those families who don’t qualify for income based assistance, there are other programs, credits, or discounts available that may be able to assist you with paying for child care.

Tax Credits: Tax credits do not provide immediate help with paying for child care, but they reduce the amount of tax owed and help to maximize your refund. A tax refund, if received, can be set aside for other costs (like child care) to be used throughout the year. Visit www.irs.gov for more information on the following tax credits:

  • Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit: This credit is available to people who are paying for child care so that they can work or look for work. The credit is a percentage based on your adjusted gross income and the amount of work-related child and dependent care expenses you paid to a care provider.
  • Earned Income Tax Credit: This is a tax credit for moderate- to low-income working individuals and families. The amount of the credit varies depending on your level of income and how many dependents you support.

Local Child Care Programs: Additional assistance may be available from your provider or other local child care programs. Families are encouraged to ask their provider if any of the following are available at their program:

  • Sliding fee scale: Some providers may offer fees based on a sliding scale, using an income based system to determine cost. 
  • Negotiable Fees: Some programs might be willing to negotiate fees on a case by case basis.
  • Private Scholarships: Some programs offer private scholarships and/or accept scholarship funds.
  • Multi-Child Discounts: Some programs offer fee reductions to parents with more than one child enrolled in care.

Work & School Related Programs: Have you looked into child care assistance options based on where you work or go to school? Take the time to visit your employer’s human resources or finance office, or your college or university’s student services department to see if you might be eligible for any of the following benefits:

  • On-Site Child Care Centers & Discounts: Your employer or school may have an on-site child care center with reduced rates, or offer discounts through certain child care programs. 
  • Child Care Vouchers or Reimbursements: An employer may offer workers a child care allowance or subsidy that families can use toward a child care arrangement of their choice.
  • Employer Assisted Dependent Care Account: Your employer may allow employees to put a portion of each paycheck into a special fund for child care. The money placed in these funds is not taxed and can only be used toward the cost of care.
  • Review Your Benefit Package: Some employers allow employees to choose from a menu of benefits and customize their benefits package. For example; if your health insurance is covered under someone else’s plan, you might be able to choose a child care benefit instead of health insurance.

Syracuse University, University College Child Care Grant: This is special grant program for certain eligible Syracuse University undergraduate students that helps pay for child care. Child Care Solutions can help Child Care Grant applicants by providing a list of child care providers, call (315) 446-1220 ext. 303 for assistance. Find out more information on this program here, or contact the Financial Aid Office if you have questions.

Military/DoD Families:  Child Care Aware® of America offers child care fee assistance to eligible members of the military. Each branch of service has its own eligibility requirements, which can be found here, along with other program information. To speak with a specialist about the military and DoD child care programs, please call 1 (800) 424-2246