The Obameter

Expand the child and dependent care credit

Expand and make refundable the child and dependent care credit.


No expansion for the child care tax credit

With 2010 coming to a close, President Obama brokered a major deal on taxes, agreeing to continue the current tax rates for everyone, including high earners. The tax rates, passed during President George W. Bush's administration, were set to go up in 2011.

Obama said repeatedly during the campaign that he intended to let the tax rates increase for couples who made more than $250,000 or individuals who made more than $200,000. He gave in on that point in order to get some other things in return. The current tax rates were extended for couples who make less than the $250,000 cut-off, and some tax cuts that were part of the 2009 economic stimulus law were also continued. Additionally, Obama won an extra year of unemployment benefits for workers who qualified, and he won a one-year reduction of Social Security taxes that puts 2 percent of pay back into workers' paychecks

One thing that wasn't included in the deal was expanding the child and dependent care credit, nor was it made refundable.

The compromise extends most tax rates for another two years so that they expire at the end of 2012, just as Obama completes his first term. It's highly unlikely that more tax changes will be considered before then. If this tax proposal is revived at some point, we'll revisit our ruling. But for now it's Promise Broken.


The White House, Fact Sheet on the Framework Agreement on Middle Class Tax Cuts and Unemployment Insurance, Dec. 7, 2010

Thomas, HR 4583

The White House, Press Conference by the President, Dec. 7, 2010

U.S. Senate Finance Committee, S.A.4753: The Reid-McConnell Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010

Child care tax credit still not refundable

Barack Obama made several campaign pledges that were intended to give more money back to taxpayers with modest incomes. Part of this push would make certain tax credits refundable. This means that people who don't owe any taxes could get payments from the government. One of the elements of the economic stimulus package, for example, expanded refunds for tax credits for children.

But that's different from the promise we're looking at here. This promise was to expand and make refundable child care , such as babysitting or day care expenses.

We haven't found any proposals to expand and make refundable child care credits. In fact, guidance from the Internal Revenue Service for 2009 specifically states that the child care tax credit is not refundable. So we rate this promise Stalled.


Internal Revenue Service, Publication 503: Child and Dependent Care Expenses , Dec. 10, 2009

Thomas, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act , accessed Dec. 21, 2009