Return to Q&A Home Page

Where can I find out about Maine’s Dependent Care State Tax Credit?

Jan 17, 2024 | Rising Stars

It’s tax time, which can often lead to confusion for families with questions about Maine’s Dependent Care State Tax Credit. Here’s the language from Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) with added context:

The Maine legislature passed a law that expands the income tax credit for child care expenses. A Maine taxpayer who enrolls a child in a child care center or home with a Quality Certificate [context: “Quality Certificate” refers to a program rated at Star 5 with Rising Stars for ME] is eligible for a double child care tax credit on their state income tax return. Currently an individual is allowed a credit against the tax otherwise due in the amount of 25% of the federal tax credit allowable for child and dependent care. In the new law, this credit doubles in amount if the child care expenses were incurred through the use of quality child care [program rated at Star 5]. The credit may result in a refund of up to $500.

It’s easy to see that this information lacks clarity for families because it does not define “quality” in terms of rating with Rising Stars for ME. The Maine Revenue Service language is intentionally vague so it can adapt to any changes in Maine’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS). At this time, “quality certificate” and “quality program” refer to programs rated at Star 5.

If families have questions about Maine’s Dependent Care State Tax Credit, please refer them to the information from DHHS, the Maine Revenue Service, or a tax professional.

If your program is rated at Star 5, please refer to this list of Eligible Quality Providers for 2023. This list includes your Quality Number that families will need to report on their tax forms.

As always, reach out to risingstarsforme@maine.edu with questions.