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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Introduction xiii • Visit my blog (, which contains a state-by-state directory of tax preparers who have experience doing family child care tax returns. (I don’t recommend any specific tax preparers.) • Ask other family child care providers or the members of your family child care association for the names of their tax preparers. • Find out if there are any community resources you can use. For example, some com­ munities have taxpayer assistance services for low-income people. Contact your local United Way for more information about these programs. • There are three national tax preparer organizations that offer state listings of their mem­ bers: the National Association of Enrolled Agents ( or 202-822-6232), the National Association of Tax Professionals ( or 800-558-3402), and the National Society of Accountants ( or 800-966-6679). You can also look in the phone book to find the local chapter of any of these organizations. Using Tax Preparation Software An increasing number of family child care providers are using tax preparation software to do their own taxes. The two leading tax preparation software programs are H&R Block at Home and TurboTax. Both programs are available on disk or can be used online and offer special instructions for family child care providers. These programs can be helpful in doing math calculations (such as depreciation) and completing your tax forms; they may also help catch some of your mistakes. They also have drawbacks—specifi­ cally, tax software will not do the following: • Identify the items you can deduct for your business. The software will merely list the category (for example, Supplies); it will be up to you to figure out what you can claim on that line. • Explain how to deduct items that are used both for business and personal purposes. You will need to figure out how to claim not only the supplies that you use exclu­ sively for your business but also the supplies that you use for both business and per­ sonal purposes. Here’s an example: Let’s say that you spent $120 on arts and crafts supplies that were used only by the children in your care and $600 on household cleaning supplies that were used by both your business and your family. In this case, you can deduct the full amount of the arts and crafts supplies but not of the cleaning supplies. You must multiply that $600 by your Time-Space percentage and add that amount to the $120 for arts and crafts supplies. The total is the number that you enter on Schedule C, line 22. If you don’t know that you can’t claim either $720 or the Time-Space percentage of $720 for your supplies, then you shouldn’t be using a tax software program. • Alert you to all the special rules that apply to your business. For example, it won’t remind you that the reimbursements you received from the Food Program for your own children are not taxable income. • Ask you detailed questions to make sure that you are reporting the highest Time- Space percentage and business deductions that you are allowed to claim. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL