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Dependent Care Advantage Account

What Is The Dependent Care Advantage Account?
Who Is Eligible To Enroll?
Who Is Not Eligible To Enroll?
Whose Expenses Are Eligible Under The Definition Of Dependent?
Employer Contribution
What You Need To Know Before Enrolling
How Do I Enroll?
Eligible and Ineligible Expenses
Changes In Status
DCAAccount Claims Process
Payroll Changes
What To Do At Tax Time
Federal Tax Credit Or DCAAccount?
DCAAccount Frequently Asked Questions
DCAAccount Employer Contribution Frequently Asked Questions
Dependent Care Advantage Account Worksheet
Dependent Care Advantage Account Forms

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spacer What Is The Dependent Care Advantage Account?
The Dependent Care Advantage Account (DCAAccount) is a negotiated employee benefit that helps state employee families who have to pay for child care, elder care, or disabled dependent care while they are at work.

The DCAAccount is managed by staff of Work-Life Services. The DCAAccount team consists of staff located in Albany, New York who are specially trained in this employee benefit. They maintain a very active role in the day-to-day administration of the program and serve as the liaison between the FSA administrator and New York State employees.

Call the FSA Hotline at 1-800-358-7202, then press 2. You will receive expert assistance with questions you may have about the program. For the hearing impaired, this hotline can be accessed through the New York Relay System.

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Who Is Eligible To Enroll?
Employees who work for Executive Branch state agencies, the Legislature, and the Unified Court System are eligible to participate in the DCAAccount. Part-time employees are eligible as long as their biweekly paychecks can support their DCAAccount deductions. Employees of NYSERDA, EFC, Liquidation Bureau, and Roswell Park Cancer Institute are also eligible to participate.

Hourly employees are eligible to enroll, provided they receive a regular, biweekly paycheck from the Office of the State Comptroller. Once enrolled, hourly employees are responsible for contacting the FSA Hotline at 1-800-358-7202, Option 2, if a payroll deduction is missed.

New employees are immediately eligible for this benefit, but must enroll within 60 days of their hiring date. The plan year contribution amount will then be pro-rated over the remaining pay periods in the calendar year.

New state employees hired on or before October 31, 2012 must enroll during the 2013 open enrollment period if they wish to participate in the FSA for 2013. New state employees hired on or after November 1, 2012 who wish to participate in the FSA for 2013 must either enroll during the 2013 open enrollment period or submit a change in status application within 60 days of the start of their employment.

The IRS definitions regarding dependents may affect your DCAAccount reimbursement. Use this information to determine if your expenses are eligible.

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Who Is Not Eligible To Enroll?
Employees of the SUNY Research Foundation and Health Research, Inc. (HRI) are not eligible for the NYS FSA program and should contact their human resources office regarding a similar benefit through their employer.

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Whose Expenses Are Eligible Under The Definition Of Dependent?
You may use your DCAAccount to receive reimbursement for eligible dependent care expenses for qualifying individuals.

A qualifying individual includes a qualifying child, if he or she:
  • is a U.S. citizen, national, or a resident of the U.S., Mexico, or Canada
  • has a specified family-type relationship to you
  • lives in your household for more than half of the taxable year
  • spends at least eight hours per day in your home
  • has not provided more than one-half of his or her own support during the taxable year
  • is 12 years old or younger


  • A qualifying individual includes your spouse, relative, or any other individual (as long as the relationship does not violate local law), if he or she:
  • is a U.S. citizen, national, or a resident of the U.S., Mexico, or Canada
  • has a specified family-type relationship to you
  • lives in your household for more than half of the taxable year
  • spends at least eight hours per day in your home
  • receives more than one-half of his or her support from you during the taxable year
  • is physically or mentally incapable of self care


  • Note: If you are a tax dependent of another person, you cannot claim qualifying individuals for yourself. You cannot claim a qualifying individual if he or she files a joint tax return with his or her spouse. Only the custodial parent of divorced or legally-separated parents can be reimbursed using the DCAAccount.

    A marriage between same-sex spouses is not recognized under federal law. However, under federal law, a domestic partner’s dependent care expenses are eligible for reimbursement through the Flex Spending Account if the domestic partner is a qualifying relative under the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). Therefore, if a same-sex spouse meets the federal requirements of a domestic partner to be a qualifying relative under the IRC, the same-sex spouse’s dependent care expenses would be eligible for reimbursement through the Flex Spending Account. Since a marriage between same-sex spouses is not recognized under federal law, those events that are eligible for a change in status for married couples would not apply to same-sex married couples.

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    Employer Contribution
    The DCAAccount Employer Contribution will continue in 2013 for unions that participate in the program and have ratified contracts with the State. At present, Executive Branch state agency employees who are M/C or represented by CSEA, PEF, Council 82, or NYSCOPBA or are employed by the Legislature are eligible for the DCAAccount Employer Contribution. Employees of Roswell Park Cancer Institute, NYS Energy Research and Development Authority, and the Environmental Facilities Corporation are also eligible for the Employer Contribution. For Employer Contribution updates please call 1-800-358-7202.

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    What You Need To Know Before Enrolling
    The maximum you may put into the account is $5,000.
    • If you or your spouse earn less than $5,000 annually, you cannot put more money into the account than your income or your spouse’s income — whichever is less.
    • If you are married and use the “Married Filing Jointly” tax filing status the IRS $5,000 maximum contribution rule is applied to households. That is, if both you and your spouse are eligible to participate in the DCAAccount (or a similar program offered by another employer), the total household contribution is limited to $5,000.
    • If you are married but your spouse maintains a separate residence for the last six months of the calendar year, you file a separate tax return, and you furnish more than one-half the cost of maintaining those dependents for whom you are eligible to receive tax-free reimbursements under the DCAAccount, the IRS maximum contribution is $5,000.
    • If you are single and file as “Single Head of Household”, the IRS maximum contribution is $5,000.
    • If you are married and use the “Married Filing Separately” tax filing status, the IRS limits contributions to $2,500 for each spouse.
    • The $2,500 maximum also applies to individuals who file “Single, Not Head of Household”.
    • Individuals who have a disabled spouse and use the “Married Filing Jointly” tax filing status may enroll up to a maximum of $2,400 (the IRS considers the disabled spouse “gainfully employed” and to have an earned income of $200 per month for one dependent and $400 per month for two or more dependents).
    Expenses must be for service provided from January 1 through December 31 of the plan year.

    If the services are for child care, your child must be under 13 years old and must be your dependent as defined by federal tax rules. But the services may be provided for a child or adult of any age if he or she is disabled and unable to care for her or himself and spends at least eight hours of the day in your home.

    The services may be provided either in your home or elsewhere, but not by someone whom you also claim as your dependent for income tax purposes. For example, you may not pay your older child to care for your younger child or elderly parent.

    The IRS requires you to provide the name, address, and taxpayer identification number (or social security number) of the person providing the care. You must provide this information when you submit a reimbursement request form and when you file IRS Form 2441 with your income tax return (or Form 1040A Schedule 2 Child and Dependent Care Expenses for Form 1040A filers).

    Any funds that you do not claim for reimbursement are forfeited at the end of the plan year and will be used to offset the costs of administering the program. The IRS prohibits these funds from being returned to individual plan participants.

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    How Do I Enroll?
    You may enroll in the DCAAccount each fall during the open enrollment period. The 2013 open enrollment period begins October 9, 2012 and concludes November 9, 2012.

    • Use the DCAAccount Worksheet to help you estimate what your dependent care expenses will be for the 2013 calendar year. The DCAAcount Tax Calculator will help you figure out if the DCAAccount will save you more money than the Federal and State Child and Dependent Care Tax Credits.

    • Based on your estimated expenses, decide how much of your salary you want to set aside in your DCAAccount. Each pay period, a regular portion of the amount you decide upon is taken out of your biweekly paycheck pre-tax through automatic payroll deduction. The number of payroll deductions will be determined based on the number of paychecks you expect to receive during the plan year and will be made before your state, federal, and social security and city income (if applicable) taxes are calculated.

    • Enroll in the DCAAccount online. Select "Apply Now" from the menu and follow the instructions on the screens. Be sure to indicate the amount of your annual election for the 2013 plan year. Once you complete the online enrollment application, click the "Submit My Application" button and you are done. The process is quick, easy, and secure. Be sure to print a copy of your application for your records.

      If you choose not to enroll online, you can enroll by calling 1-800-358-7202, option 1. A customer service representative will ask you all the information needed for your enrollment application.

      Remember, your enrollment application must be submitted either online or via telephone during the open enrollment period for the new plan year. The online and telephone application process automatically shuts down at the end of the open enrollment period.

    • If you are already in the DCAAccount, you must submit a new enrollment application during the open enrollment period to continue your participation in 2013. Re-enrollment is not automatic.
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    Eligible and Ineligible Expenses
    To use the DCAAccount, you must be paying for dependent care so that you and your spouse (if you are married) can work or go to school. If your spouse is not disabled, not at work, or not in school, it is assumed he or she is available to care for the dependent.

    Some ELIGIBLE Expenses
    Adult day care
    Au pair1
    Baby sitter
    Before/after school programs
    Boarding school2
    Child care center
    Family care provider
    Home aide
    Housekeeper or cook (who also provides custodial care)
    Nursery school
    Pre-school programs
    Summer day camp

    Some INELIGIBLE Expenses
    Activity fees
    Books
    College tuition
    Deposits1
    Diaper service
    Insurance fees
    Meals
    Medical expenses
    Piano, ballet, art lessons, etc.
    Registration fees
    Residential nursing home
    Sleep over camp
    Supplies
    Transportation fees (unless provided by the caregiver)
    T-shirts
    Tuition (kindergarten and up)

    1 Application, agency fees, and deposit expenses required to obtain child care for qualifying dependents are considered employment-related expenses; however if the care is not provided (for any reason), these expenses are not eligible for reimbursement through the DCAAccount.
    2 Proper documentation differentiating between expenses for the care of a qualifying dependent and expenses for other goods or services is required. For example, in the case of a dependent attending boarding school: the participant must allocate the expenses for care and the expenses for food, lodging, clothing, and education. Only the cost for care is reimbursable. Overnight camps are not considered employment-related expenses and are not reimbursable.
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    Changes In Status
    You must enroll during the open enrollment period, unless you have a change in status event that occurs after the open enrollment deadline.

    New state employees hired on or before October 31, 2012 must enroll during the 2013 open enrollment period if they wish to participate in the FSA for 2013. New state employees hired on or after November 1, 2012 who wish to participate in the FSA for 2013 must either enroll during the 2013 open enrollment period or submit a change in status application within 60 days of the start of their employment.

    Once enrolled in the DCAAccount, you may not change your mind. Your pre-tax deductions will continue throughout the calendar year. However, there are certain circumstances where a change may be permitted. Here are some examples of eligible changes in status (CIS) events:

    • Marriage
    • Divorce or separation
    • Death (spouse/dependent)
    • Birth or adoption of a child
    • Beginning or end of employment (employee or spouse)
    • Dependent disability
    • From full-time to part-time employment or vice versa (employee or spouse)
    • Beginning of or return from leave of absence (employee or spouse)
    • Change in work schedule (employee or spouse)
    • Change in custody of dependent
    • Change in rate paid (only if the provider is not a relative)
    • Change in care provider
    • Dependent reaches age 13 (decrease or termination only)
    • Loss of another Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP) plan’s coverage (increase or enrollment only)
    If you have a CIS, you must submit your application online or by phone within 60 days of the qualifying event, but as promptly as possible to prevent unwanted, non-refundable deductions. Your application to start, change, or terminate your account becomes effective once the date of the CIS event has elapsed or the date your application is received, whichever is later. Any change in your DCAAccount contributions must be consistent with the change in status. For example, if your child care provider raises fees, you may increase your DCAAccount contributions. No additional documentation or verification of the eligible event is required. It is your responsibility to keep legal documentation of the changes in your personal records in case the IRS audits you.

    If you are starting an account after the plan year has begun with an eligible CIS event, your expenses will be eligible for reimbursement from the date your application is received, or the date of your CIS, whichever is later, through December 31. Change in status applications will be accepted during the plan year until November 10, 2013 for CIS events that occur on or before November 10, 2013. Applications received after that date cannot be processed in time for the last pay period of the year.

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    DCAAccount Claims Process
    How do I file a claim for dependent care expenses?
    It's easy to submit a claim for reimbursement from your DCAAccount.

    • Fill out a reimbursement request form (PDF) (Fillable PDF) after services have been provided. You can obtain a reimbursement form either online or by calling the FSA administrator.
    • Mail, fax, or submit it online to the FSA administrator with the invoice or receipt.
    • Or, you may find it easier to have your care provider countersign the claim form-then you do not need to attach an invoice or receipt.
    • Submit reimbursement request forms as often as you like. Many participants submit biweekly, others submit on a monthly basis, and some submit just once a year. It's up to you.
    The reimbursement request form (PDF) (Fillable PDF) must include the provider's name, address, and taxpayer ID number (or social security number), the period during which the services were provided, and the amount you were charged. Attach a receipt or invoice to the reimbursement request form. Or you can use the form as a receipt, if your provider countersigns the form with you.

    Claims for services you have to pay for ahead of time (like summer day camp) cannot be reimbursed until the services have been provided. You can prorate this large expense as the services are rendered, however, and submit claims on a biweekly or monthly basis until you are fully reimbursed.

    When the plan year ends on December 31, you still have 90 days to send in a claim form for expenses you had during the plan year. So, you have until March 31 to submit claims for services rendered from January 1 through December 31 of the preceding year.

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    When will I be reimbursed?
    The FSA administrator will review your reimbursement request form and, if it is complete, authorize it for payment up to the amount of money accumulated in your account.

    If you submit a receipt for more money than you have in your DCAAccount, the balance will be paid automatically when the funds are deposited from your next payroll deduction.

    You will receive a reimbursement check once your claim is approved. Or you can Enter the RACE (PDF) for direct deposit of your reimbursements into your checking or savings account.

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    Payroll Changes
    Terminations
    Your deductions will automatically stop if you leave State payroll. If you return to the New York State payroll, you have 60 days from your return to renew your enrollment.

    If you are rehired within the same plan year and are eligible for the DCAAccount, or you become eligible again, you may make a new election if you are rehired or become eligible again more than 30 days after your employment terminated or you otherwise lost eligibility. If you are rehired or again become eligible within 30 days, your DCAAccount election that was in effect when you terminated employment or stopped being eligible will be reinstated and remain in effect for the remainder of the plan year, unless you incur a subsequent change in status.

    Leave With Pay
    Payroll deductions will continue for participants on sick leave, vacation, and sick leave at half-pay, provided there are sufficient funds in the paycheck. Deductions will not continue for employees receiving short or long-term disability benefits through the Income Protection Plan (IPP).

    Some of these situations may be considered eligible changes in status. If you have a question about your situation, contact the DCAAccount Team in Albany. We will help you determine whether a termination of participation or adjustment in the amount of deduction may be required. Call the FSA Hotline at 1-800-358-7202, then press 2.

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    What To Do At Tax Time
    Your DCAAccount contributions, including any Employer Contribution you have received, will be reflected in Box 10 of your W-2 Form for 2013. It is important that you file the appropriate forms with your income tax returns. If you do not, the IRS is likely to audit your tax return.
    • File IRS Form 2441 for Child and Dependent Care Expenses, Part I and Part III, with your federal income tax return. Part I requests information on the persons or organizations providing care, including their social security or federal identification number. Part III determines the amount of dependent care benefits that are eligible for tax exclusion. (Form 1040A filers will file Form 1040A Schedule 2 Child and Dependent Care Expenses).

    • If you enrolled in the DCAAccount just for the amount of the Employer Contribution, you must still file IRS Form 2441 (or Form 1040A Schedule 2 Child and Dependent Care Expenses for Form 1040A Filers).

    • If you use an au pair who is not a U.S. citizen, you should file a SS 5 application form requesting a Social Security Identification Number for the au pair. This form is available from the Social Security Administration (1-800-722-1213) or online at www.ssa.gov. At the end of the tax year, the au pair should file an IRS 1040NR (Non-Resident Taxpayer) form. This form indicates wages paid to the non-resident during the tax year.

    • If you have an employer/employee relationship with your care provider, you are responsible for paying any applicable taxes and insurances on wages paid to the care provider. The wages and applicable taxes and insurances are considered expenses eligible for reimbursement through your DCAAccount.
    Please consult your tax preparer, tax attorney or accountant if you have any questions regarding your filing requirements.

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    Federal Tax Credit Or DCAAccount?
    The Federal Tax Credit can be used up to $2,400 for the care of one dependent and up to $4,800 for two or more dependents. The DCAAccount and the credit can be combined, but the total cannot exceed $2,400 for one dependent or $4,800 for two or more dependents. Or you can use just the DCAAccount for up to $5,000, regardless of the number of dependents you claim.

    We encourage you to use the online calculator to help you decide whether to use the federal and state tax credits or the DCAAccount, or a combination of both to maximize your savings. Your decision will depend on a number of factors such as your tax filing status (e.g., married, single, head of household), number of qualifying dependents, amount of dependent care expenses, earned income, etc.

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    DCAAccount Frequently Asked Questions

    •  How can payroll deductions to the DCAAccount be a benefit if I still have to pay for my dependent care expenses with my own money?
    •  How do I get reimbursed?
    •  Can I pay my mother to care for my kids?
    •  Can I pay my spouse?
    •  Can I use the DCAAccount to pay a maid, cook, or housekeeper?
    •  What about kindergarten? Or private elementary school?
    •  What if my child is cared for at my church?
    •  Can I participate in the DCAAccount if I use an au pair to care for my children?
    •  What if my baby sitter won't give me her social security number?
    •  Who determines whether a child or other dependent is mentally or physically incapable of self care?
    •  Can I pay for my mentally disabled child's overnight expenses, since he's at the school during the day?
    •  Do my child's summer camp expenses qualify if occasional sleep overs are a part of any overall day program?
    •  My elderly mother requires care. I pay someone to take care of her in her own home while I work. Is this an eligible expense?
    •  My 20-year old son is mentally disabled and lives in my home. We pay a neighbor to care for him while we work. Is this cost reimbursable?
    •  I am a single parent and a member of the armed forces. If I am ordered to a combat zone, will my child’s boarding school expenses be eligible?
    •  I have a disabled friend who resides with me and for whom I contribute a sizable portion of financial support. Can I establish a DCAAccount for his care while I’m at work?
    •  If I should incur an eligible change in status allowing me to enroll in the DCAAccount during the year, how far back may I calculate my expenses?
    •  What if my child turns age 13 during the middle of the plan year?
    •  My child was expelled from daycare because of a biting habit and is now being cared for by a family member, free of charge. Can I terminate my DCAAccount?
    •  What if I'm laid off, fired, or quit my job?
    •  What if my spouse is laid off, fired, or quits his or her job?
    •  What if my spouse and I have separated, but are not yet "legally" separated? Is that a "Change in Status?"
    •  If I become legally separated, how does this affect participation in the plan?
    •  Can my spouse and I both use the $5,000 limit?
    •  My spouse is a full-time student. Can we participate in the DCAAccount?
    •  How do I know if the Federal Tax Credit or the DCAAccount is better for me?
    •  Can I take the Federal Tax Credit and be in the DCAAccount, too?
    •  Will my dependent care deductions be reported to the IRS?
    •  I am a member of the DCAAccount Program and have enrolled for the full $5,000. I know I need to file Form 2441 (or Form 1040A Schedule 2 Child and Dependent Care Expenses for Form 1040A filers) with my federal return. Do I need to file the New York State form IT 216 with my state income tax return?
    •  I am divorced, and have physical custody of my seven year old daughter. However, my ex-spouse has retained the legal right to claim an exemption for our daughter for income tax purposes. Am I eligible to participate in the DCAAccount?

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    Q How can payroll deductions to the DCAAccount be a benefit if I still have to pay for my dependent care expenses with my own money?
    A The money deducted from your paycheck is put into your DCAAccount before state, federal, social security and city (if applicable) taxes are taken. This allows you to be reimbursed with pre-tax, or whole dollars. State employees save several hundred dollars annually by participating in the DCAAccount. The amount you save is determined by the amount of money you set aside and your taxable household income. For an estimate of your savings, use the online calculator.
     
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    Q How do I get reimbursed?
    A After the services have been provided, you submit a reimbursement request form (PDF) to the FSA administrator, along with a receipt or invoice for the services rendered-or your care provider may simply countersign the claim form. You can send in reimbursement request forms as often as you like and in any amount.

    It is necessary to submit a reimbursement request form for all money set aside in your DCAAccount.
     
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    Q Can I pay my mother to care for my kids?
    A Yes, as long as your mother is not your dependent and will give you her social security number (SSN). You need her SSN so that you can report her as the caregiver when you file claims for reimbursement and when you file your income tax return. Your mother should report the payments as income. If your mother (or other individual related by blood or marriage) is your care provider and changes her rates, a change in cost of care in this situation is not considered an eligible Change in Status by the IRS.
     
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    Q Can I pay my spouse?
    A No. You can't pay your spouse to care for your children. You also cannot pay your own child under age 19, or any other person you claim as a dependent. You can pay your mother, father, or any other relative, but they must provide you with their SSN for reimbursement to occur.
     
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    Q Can I use the DCAAccount to pay a maid, cook, or housekeeper?
    A Yes, if the intent of the service is to provide your dependent with care while you work.
     
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    Q What about kindergarten? Or private elementary school?
    A Tuition costs from kindergarten and up are not eligible.
     
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    Q What if my child is cared for at my church?
    A In the case of a church or other religious affiliated tax-exempt day care center, you need only provide the name, address, and tax exempt status of the religious institution.
     
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    Q Can I participate in the DCAAccount if I use an au pair to care for my children?
    A Yes, you may use an au pair to provide dependent care services. But only the amounts paid to cover wages, taxes on those wages, expenses incurred for lodging, food the au pair consumes in your home, and agency fees are eligible for reimbursement. Au pair agency transportation fares are not considered expenses paid for the care of the dependent, and are therefore not eligible for reimbursement. Be sure you complete and file the appropriate tax forms with the IRS.
     
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    Q What if my baby sitter won't give me her SSN?
    A In order to receive reimbursement, you must provide the FSA administrator with your caregiver's SSN. Therefore, it is important that you discuss this program with your caregiver before electing to participate.
     
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    Q Who determines whether a child or other dependent is mentally or physically incapable of self care?
    A You as the participant must determine if your dependent is physically or mentally incapable of self care. If audited, you may have to substantiate this to the IRS.
     
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    Q Can I pay for my mentally disabled child's overnight expenses, since he's at the school during the day?
    A No. This account is only for daycare while you work-not for residential care, tuition for special educational schools, or medical care.
     
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    Q Do my child's summer camp expenses qualify if occasional sleep overs are a part of any overall day program?
    A Probably, but the camp program must be a day camp. Sleep over camps do not qualify and your child must be under age 13.
     
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    Q My elderly mother requires care. I pay someone to take care of her in her own home while I work. Is this an eligible expense?
    A No. The IRS requires that the person needing care reside in your home at least eight hours a day.
     
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    Q My 20-year old son is mentally disabled and lives in my home. We pay a neighbor to care for him while we work. Is this cost reimbursable?
    A Yes. If your disabled dependent is unable to care for himself and your spouse also works, then the costs of caring for him in your home or at a special day care facility are reimbursable. The same rules apply if your spouse is disabled.
     
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    Q I am a single parent and a member of the armed forces. If I am ordered to a combat zone, will my child’s boarding school expenses be eligible?
    A In the case of a dependent attending boarding school, only the cost for care is reimbursable. The employee must allocate the cost of the boarding school between expenses for care and expenses for education and other services not constituting care, such as meals and housing.
     
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    Q I have a disabled friend who resides with me and for whom I contribute a sizable portion of financial support. Can I establish a DCAAccount for his care while I’m at work?
    A Yes, as long as the individual is a U.S. citizen, national, or a resident of the U.S., Mexico, or Canada; lives in your household for more than half of the taxable year; spends at least eight hours a day in your home; and receives more than one-half of his or her support from you during the taxable year.
     
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    Q If I should incur an eligible change in status allowing me to enroll in the DCAAccount during the year, how far back may I calculate my expenses?
    A If you join after the open enrollment period through an eligible change in status, your expenses would be eligible from the date your Change in Status application is received, or the date you experienced the change, whichever is later.
     
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    Q What if my child turns age 13 during the middle of the plan year?
    A IRS regulations state that once a child turns 13, child care expenses are no longer eligible, unless the child is physically or mentally incapable of self care. Therefore, you may reduce your election or cancel your enrollment in the DCAAccount when your child reaches age 13.
     
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    Q My child was expelled from daycare because of a biting habit and is now being cared for by a family member, free of charge. Can I terminate my DCAAccount?
    A Yes, since there has been a significant change in the coverage initiated by your care provider. A participant may elect to terminate his or her salary reduction for care expenses if the coverage provided by an "independent third party" (your daycare center) is significantly curtailed or ceases during the period of coverage.
     
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    Q What if I'm laid off, fired, or quit my job?
    A If you leave State service during a plan year, you retain your account through the end of that plan year. This means that although you cannot make any additional contributions to your account, you have until December 31 of the plan year to incur eligible expenses-and until March 31 of the following year to file a reimbursement request.
     
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    Q What if my spouse is laid off, fired, or quits his or her job?
    A As long as your spouse is gainfully employed or looking for gainful employment, then you are still eligible to participate.
     
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    Q What if my spouse and I have separated, but are not yet "legally" separated? Is that a "Change in Status?"
    A No. But other circumstances typically surrounding such a separation might qualify, such as a change in employment schedule. In addition, the maximum allowable tax-free reimbursement could be reduced, for example, from $5,000 to $2,500 if you and your spouse use the tax filing status of "Married Filing Separately."

    However, even in this situation, if you provide more than one-half the household support for a dependent who lives in your household more than six months in a year, you may be eligible for "Head of Household" tax filing status, which would allow the $5,000 maximum reimbursement for dependent care expenses.
     
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    Q If I become legally separated, how does this affect participation in the plan?
    A A participant who is legally separated is not considered married for purposes of the DCAAccount and may be reimbursed up to $5,000 of eligible expenses-even if filing a separate tax return. Legal separation would constitute a change in status.
     
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    Q Can my spouse and I both use the $5,000 limit?
    A No. There is a $5,000 limit on expenses that may be reimbursed each calendar year for married couples who file a joint return ($2,500 limit for each spouse per year if you file separate income tax returns). If your spouse's employer offers a similar plan, remember you cannot be reimbursed for the same expenses by two plans.
     
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    Q My spouse is a full-time student. Can we participate in the DCAAccount?
    A Yes. However, the maximum you can contribute to the DCAAccount is determined by the earned income of you and your spouse. As a student, the IRS considers your spouse to be gainfully employed. Earned income is calculated as not less than $200 for one qualifying dependent and $400 for more than one qualifying dependent for each month the spouse is a student.

    For example, if you have two children in need of care, and your spouse is a student nine months out of the year and earns no other income, the maximum you can put into the DCAAccount is $3,600.
     
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    Q How do I know if the Federal Tax Credit or the DCAAccount is better for me?
    A We encourage you to use the online tax calculator to help you choose between the available taxable and tax-free benefits, or a combination of both. As the taxpayer, you must determine whether participation in the DCAAccount, claiming a federal and state tax credit or exclusion, or using a combination of the taxable and tax-free benefits, is best for you. Your decision will depend on a number of factors such as your tax filing status (e.g., married, single, head of household), number of qualifying dependents, amount of dependent care expenses, earned income, etc. Consult your tax advisor or the IRS for additional information.
     
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    Q Can I take the Federal Tax Credit and be in the DCAAccount, too?
    A You cannot use the Federal Tax Credit and the DCAAccount for the same expenses. However, if you underestimate your DCAAccount contribution, the tax credit can be used for any remaining expenses up to the maximum allowed by the tax credit provisions.

    The amount reimbursed through your DCAAccount reduces dollar-for-dollar the amount that can be used to calculate the Federal Tax Credit. Use the online tax calculator to find out how to maximize your savings.

    The current child and dependent tax credit limits are scheduled to sunset on December 31, 2012. Without Congressional action, the limits for the child care credit will revert to $2,400 of expenses covering one child and $4,800 for families with two or more children on January 1, 2013.
     
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    Q Will my dependent care deductions be reported to the IRS?
    A Yes. Your deductions will be reflected on your W-2 form in Box 10. You must file IRS Form 2441 with your tax return (or Form 1040A Schedule 2 Child and Dependent Care Expenses for Form 1040A filers). Remember that IRS form 2441 requires you to provide a taxpayer identification number or SSN for each dependent care provider.
     
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    Q I am a member of the DCAAccount Program and have enrolled for the full $5,000. I know I need to file Form 2441 (or Form 1040A Schedule 2 Child and Dependent Care Expenses for Form 1040A filers) with my federal return. Do I need to file the New York State form IT 216 with my state income tax return?
    A No. You need only file IT 216 if you are filing for the income tax credit from New York State.
     
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    Q I am divorced, and have physical custody of my seven year old daughter. However, my ex-husband has retained the legal right to claim an exemption for our daughter for income tax purposes. Am I eligible to participate in the DCAAccount?
    A Yes. If a participant has legal physical custody of a child for more than half of the calendar year, who is either under the age of 13 or physically or mentally incapable of self care, but has granted the non-custodial parent the right to claim the child as a dependent, the child is considered your dependent for the purpose of participation in this program.
     
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    DCAAccount Employer Contribution Frequently Asked Questions

    •  What is the Employer Contribution?
    •  How is the amount of the Employer Contribution determined?
    •  My spouse is also a state employee and is represented by one of the unions listed above. Can we both enroll in the DCAAccount and get the Employer Contribution?
    •  What is the minimum amount I can enroll for?
    •  My annual salary is $45,000, but I am working at 50 percent. Will the Employer Contribution be based on my annual salary or my part-time salary?
    •  If I enroll just for the amount of the Employer Contribution, what do I need to do at tax time?
    •  When will the Employer Contribution be credited to my DCAAccount?

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    Q What is the Employer Contribution?
    A The Employer Contribution is an amount of money that New York State will contribute to your DCAAccount when you enroll in the program. It was negotiated in collective bargaining to help you meet the high cost of quality child and elder care services and will continue in 2013 for unions that participate in the program and have ratified contracts with the State. At present, Executive Branch state agency employees who are M/C or represented by CSEA, PEF, Council 82, or NYSCOPBA, or are employed by the Legislature are eligible for the DCAAccount Employer Contribution. Employees of Roswell Park Cancer Institute, NYS Energy Research and Development Authority, and the Environmental Facilities Corporation are also eligible for the Employer Contribution. For Employer Contribution updates please call 1-800-358-7202.
     
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    Q How is the amount of the Employer Contribution determined?
    A The amount of the Employer Contribution is based on your NYS salary-not on your household income or the number of children you have. If you work less than full time, the amount of the Employer Contribution will be based on your annualized salary rather than on your part-time salary.
     
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    Q My spouse is also a state employee and is represented by one of the unions listed above. Can we both enroll in the DCAAccount and get the Employer Contribution?
    A Yes. Apply for enrollment individually, and you will both receive the Employer Contribution based on your individual NYS salaries. Remember, your combined enrollments cannot exceed the $5,000 maximum calendar year household limit set by the IRS.
     
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    Q What is the minimum amount I can enroll for?
    A If you wish, you can enroll just for the amount of the Employer Contribution and your DCAAccount will be fully funded by New York State. You will have no biweekly DCAAccount deductions taken from your paycheck.
     
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    Q My annual salary is $45,000, but I am working at 50 percent. Will the Employer Contribution be based on my annual salary or my part-time salary?
    A The Employer Contribution will be based on your annualized salary, not your reduced salary due to your part-time schedule.
     
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    Q If I enroll just for the amount of the Employer Contribution, what do I need to do at tax time?
    A If you enroll just for the amount of the Employer Contribution, that amount will appear in Box 10 on your W-2 form. Therefore, you must complete IRS Form 2441 (or Form 1040A Schedule 2 Child and Dependent Care Expenses for Form 1040A filers) with your income tax return.
     
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    Q When will the Employer Contribution be credited to my DCAAccount?
    A If you enroll during the open enrollment period, the Employer Contribution will be credited to your DCAAccount by January 2, 2013.
     
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    Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor