We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account?

By Christine W.
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A dependent care flexible spending account is used to pay for certain expenses related to child and dependent care that are necessary to allow parents or guardians to work or attend school on a full-time basis. A dependent care flexible spending account is a benefit available in the United States that employees can set up through participating employers. It provides a tax-advantaged way to pay for qualified work-related day care expenses.

Dependent care flexible spending accounts are capped by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service at $5,000 US Dollars. The employee estimates the amount expected to be incurred for day care expenses during the plan year and completes the necessary enrollment forms through his or her employer. The amount requested to be set aside into a dependent care account will come out of the employee’s paycheck in equal amounts during the course of the plan year.

As day care expenses are incurred, the employee submits a claim form along with documentation of the expenses. Reimbursements are then made to the employee by check or direct deposit from the flexible spending account. These accounts are a “use it or lose it” benefit. This means that any money left in the dependent care flexible spending account at the end of the plan year is forfeited.

The day care expenses must be for a qualifying individual. This includes a dependent younger than 13 or a spouse or other dependent who is physically or mentally handicapped and unable to care for himself or herself. In addition, the care services must be provided by an eligible provider, such as a licensed day care facility.

The benefit of having a dependent care flexible spending account is that it allows a person to pay for day care expenses using pre-tax dollars. Using a flexible spending account lowers the person's taxable income, because U.S. federal income taxes and Social Security taxes are not paid on this money. In many states, state income taxes also are not paid on money that is set aside in a dependent care flexible spending account.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.