What Is a DCFSA?

A tax-free account for dependent care expenses

A dependent care FSA, also known as a DCFSA or DCA, is a flexible spending account that allows you to set aside pre-tax dollars for dependent care expenses such as daycare, summer day camps, custodial care for dependent adults, and more. Contributions are deducted from your paycheck pre-tax, and participants enjoy a 30% average tax savings on their annual contribution.

  • Pay for dependent care with tax-free dollars
  • Reduce your taxable income 
  • Helps you budget for dependent care expenses
Man with child learning

Contribution Limits

Dependent care account


Tax Status DCFSA Contribution Limit
Single $5,000
Married, filing jointly $5,000
Married, filing separately $2,500

DCFSA tax benefits

Tax Status DCFSA Contributions Annual Savings*
(filing separately)
$2,500 $691
(filing jointly)
$5,000 $1,382
Single $5,000 $1,382

*For illustrative purposes only. Savings calculations are based on federal tax rate of 15%, State tax rate of 5% and 7.65% FICA. Actual results may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account?

A Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is a pre-tax benefit account used to pay for dependent care services while you are at work. The money you contribute to a Dependent Care FSA is not subject to payroll taxes, allowing you to pay fewer taxes and take home more of your paycheck.

Who qualifies as a dependent for a DCA?

Under this type of account, a dependent is defined as a child under the age of 13, as well as adults or other relatives that are incapable of caring them themselves (if you provide more than 50% of their support). Please keep in mind that they must live with you and be claimed as a dependent on your tax return.

What is a work-related expense?
What type of care is eligible?

There are a wide variety of eligible services, such as preschool, summer day camp, before- and after-school programs, and child or elder daycare. Please keep in mind that IRS rules determine which expenses are eligible.

DCA funds cover care costs for your eligible dependents while you are at work:

  • Before school or after school care (other than tuition)
  • Custodial care for dependent adults
  • Licensed day care centers
  • Nursery schools or pre-schools
  • Placement fees for a provider, such as an au pair
  • Day camp, nursery school, or a private sitter
  • Late pick-up fees
  • Summer or holiday day camps
What type of care is not eligible?

Expenses that are not eligible include care for a child age 13 and over, overnight camp, babysitting that is not work related, school fees for kindergarten and higher grades, and long-term care services.

How much can I contribute to my DCA?

The IRS limits annual contributions to $5,000 for those filing taxes as single or married filing jointly, and $2,500 for married filing separately.