Tag Archives: Tax’s

Cleaning Out Toys for Daycare and Tax Deductions

toy-messAre you wondering what to do with the piles of new stuff you have for your kids? Are they outgrowing the toys you have been accumulating over the year? Is that tax time just around the corner? Here at Decide on Daycare we can help you with all of those!

It’s that time of year again, when we find ourselves buried under piles of new toys while we look at the piles of old toys to and try to figure out what to do with it all.

First things first, talk to your children and get them involved in the process of cleaning out and cleaning up the old toys. It’s important to teach them that it does not matter how many toys you have, but what toys you have. You can follow your own beliefs but it is a good idea to help your children determine the difference between educational toys and regular toys.

Which Toys are Which 

Developmental Milestones of Young Children
Developmental Milestones of Young Children

Educational toys are ones that help teach A-B-C’s, counting, matching, shapes and colors, etc. When kids have these types of toys, they are playing and learning at the same time. It sets the foundation for their little brains to learn properly for the rest of their lives. It’s important as a parent to show excitement for these toys. Your children are going to feed off your excitement. Even if you are not actually excited about the educational toys you should still encourage them to play with these over the non-educational toys.

Non-educational toys will be more of the “standard” toys that kids often get. Things such as stuffed animals, cars, balls and other toys that are not directly related to things your children will need to learn and know to start school. These toys can be good, none the less, as they can help build imagination, sharing, and several other good behaviors. However, they can still often learn these same things through educational toys.

As a parent I try to keep the ratio between educational toys and non-educational toys at least  50/50. You can strive to make most of their toys educational. That way, the likelihood of them having higher quality play time is better.

As far as books go I try to encourage the same ratio as the toys, but I am much more hesitant to get rid of any books. The reason for this is even the youngest and most “babyish” books are great tools to help your children to read. Children will first learn to memorize the book. However, over time, they can learn to read the book as they grow older. You can really help them along with this by teaching them to skim the words as they read. By showing them you are helping them to learn to recognize the words. It may seem strange but your children can actually learn to recognize words prior to learning how to read or write.

Clean Out the Toys

Now that you have an idea of what’s what, start to go through your toys and books with your children. If you empower them to help and make decisions regarding what to keep or what to get rid of, it will make them feel like they are in control and will make this a much smoother process.

Make sure you talk through their decisions with them. If they want to get rid of something they play with every day, explain that that would not be good because they like the toy so much. On the flip side, encourage them to get rid of things that have sat in the bottom of the toy box without being touched for years.

Take this opportunity to throw away all toys that are broken or missing important pieces. Since they are getting new toys, there is no reason to hang onto the old stuff.

If they are unsure or you think they may actually want a certain toy later, you do have an option for a middle ground. You can tell them you can put their toy in “storage”. Put these toys in a bag or box and then put them in a place like a closet or spare room—someplace accessible to you but out of the way, and out of their sight. You might want to label this bag or box so you know it contains your child’s things, and put the date on the label as well. That way you know how long it has been since they played with the toys inside. If they ask for a toy, you can get it out of storage, but if it’s been six months, chances are you can donate them. If they realize that they want something from storage, you can get it back for them.  If you do, don’t take them with you. They will want all the toys in the bag! Just get the one item they asked for and take it to them. Use your best judgment since the ultimate goal is to clear out the old to make room for the new.

If there are any special toys, something that was one a parent’s, or something that would make a good memento, put it aside special for them. It can be a nice surprise when they head off to college to get the stuffed bunny they carried around for their first three years of their life, or when they are expecting their first child to receive some special toys they had as a kid.

Lastly, make sure that you keep a list of everything that is going into the donation bags. This will come in handy later. Throw out the broken toys but anything that is usable can be passed to another owner.

Donate to your Daycare or Charity

Lower Your Taxes - Big Time
Lower Your Taxes

There are many avenues to get rid of the unwanted but usable old toys your children have outgrown or no longer want. Use the list you created and send a copy to any of your friends that may have kids that are the right age for the toys that you have. Give a copy to your daycare provider and see if they want any of it. It can be fun for your child to find an old toy show up at daycare. Once you have talked to anyone you know that would want them, as well as your daycare provider, take what is left to your favorite charity.

Make a list of the toys you donate to charity. It is quite likely that these donations are tax deductible.

A Season of Getting and Gifting

It can be difficult for kids to understand the importance of why we give to others. It’s hard for them to grasp the idea of selfless giving. But if you help to reinforce this idea before the holidays and then back that up this time of year, you can help them to really absorb this lesson.

Explain to them that by donating their toys to their neighbor, family, daycare or charity is a great way to practice selfless giving. Show them how much you enjoy helping others and they will learn to enjoy giving as well.

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Day Care Deductions for 2010 Taxes

day-care-taxes-2010With the start of the New Year it’s time to think about our taxes for last year. Decide on Day Care has some great child care tax tips for you to be sure you are prepared for this tax season. Day care can actually be a very good tax deduction but it is very important that you have all the right documents lined up and ready. Make sure to talk to your day care provider early to be sure that you’ll have all your documentation and information ready for taxes. If you’ve had multiple providers through the year, you’ll need to get a Tax ID Number (TIN) or their Social Security Number (SSN).

Day Care Center

The type of day care provider that you have will determine what kind of tax information you should get from them.  A daycare center such as a preschool should have the appropriate tax paperwork available for their parents.  If they child care center doesn’t offer it, just ask them for the information you need.  You’ll need a receipt for the full year, their full business name, and their TIN.

In Home Daycare

In home daycare providers know they need to provide this information to their clients as well.  They should be able to provide you a receipt for your day care expenses for the year.  Remember, they are running a business themselves and are required to track this information, but the accuracy and diligence vary widely from day care provider to day care provider.  Be sure to ask for documentation with as much advance notice as possible so they have time to prepare the required paperwork. Ask for a receipt of your payments for the year, as well as their TIN or SSN. If your provider gives you her SSN, please be very careful with the number. If it’s written down, don’t include any other identifying information on the sheet (such as her name and date of birth), and destroy the paper once you have completed your taxes. You need to do your part to protect her from identity theft.


If you have a nanny doing the childcare, it is up to you to document her earnings and take the appropriate taxes out throughout the year. You will need to file taxes as an employer, so this will be more complicated than enrolling your child in a day care center or privately run daycare.

If you use a babysitter frequently this can also be deducted as a child care expense on your taxes for the year.  Just be sure to keep track of when and how much in case you are audited.  Often times if you do not have use frequent child care you may not meet the minimum needed for a deduction.  It is a good idea to do a quick and dirty calculation of your day care expenses to see if it will be worth it for you to itemize your day care and child care deductions.

Even if you don’t have full time daycare, you may still be able to deduct expenses relating to childcare.  Look to your local tax code for the specifics but many offer tax breaks to help families with children.

Other Considerations

You will need to document your childcare expenses, but it’s also important not to let any other possible tax breaks slip through the cracks.

  • Government tax deductions
  • Employment day care benefits
  • Childcare payments
  • Tax credits
  • Volunteer work
  • Charitable contributions

If you’re planning to get a refund, you want to get all the information as soon as possible. Please be patient with your daycare provider if they are not getting the information to you as quickly as you would like. That’s not a problem if you end up owing money, but you definitely don’t want to wait until the very last minute to get the necessary information from your provider.

You might also want to check with your employer to see if they offer a plan to take a certain amount of money out of your paycheck each month, pre-tax, and make that money available to you to pay your childcare provider. Since this money is taken out of your paycheck before taxes, it affects the amount of the childcare expense deduction you’re allowed to take.

Be sure to check your local and Federal regulations and speak with tax professionals should you have complicated daycare taxes and expenses.  Be sure that everything is documented and speak with those that were involved in your day care throughout the year.  Taxes are different from household to household but many people forgo child care deductions they could be receiving.

TurboTax 2010 for Day Care Deductions
Day Care deductions can be maximized with easy to use TurboTax 2010.

There are many great software solutions for taxes.  Use the one that you are most comfortable if you decide to do your own taxes, but make sure you have the software that fits your particular needs.  At www.decideondaycare.com, we like using TurboTax. It guides you through the process step by step and makes sure you’re not missing out on any deductions. However, sometimes it’s best to leave complicated tax situations to the professionals.

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Day Care Donations Teach Your Child Giving

toy-messWith the holiday season coming to an end, it’s time to think about getting back on the normal day care schedule. But what to do with the pile of new and old gifts that your child has surely accumulated through the season? Don’t throw them away! The season of giving need not come to an end so soon and Decide on Day Care is here to help!

This is a great opportunity to set aside the old books and toys that your child doesn’t play with anymore. You can also clear out items that are too “young” for them and set those aside.  Lots of other parents would love to have your child’s gently used toys and books.

You have some options regarding what to do with these items. Make a quick list of what you have available to give, and drop it off with your daycare provider. They can let you know if they want some or all of the items, and they can mark on the list which ones the day care could use.  They may or may not want anything that you have collected, but they’ll be touched that you thought of them.

Kids are fickle and often forget about what they have.  They often never know an item is gone. For younger kids, probably three and under, you can go through their old things when they are napping or late at night when they are in bed. This helps to avoid many of the strange fights you are sure to have over a toy your child forgot they even had! You can put the items aside for awhile, and if they ask about it, it can be retrieved. After a certain amount of time, you’ll be able to get rid of the items.

Give a Little: How Your Small Donations Can Transform Our World
How Your Small Donations Can Transform Our World

For older children, going through their old toys is an excellent opportunity to teach them about giving and what it means to give to others.  Pull out a bag and explain to them that they are running out of room for all of their toys and there are others that could use them more.  Make sure they know that they are giving these away and they will not see them again.  Help them with process of thinking about a certain book or toy, and ask them questions about the toy: When was the last time you played with this? Do you think another little boy or girl will play with it more? These are important analyzing skills and will help them their whole lives!  Make sure to praise your children for their selfless acts and generosity.  This small activity can really  bolster the strong and important traits we want in our kids.

This is a great thing to do for new and old toys, and duplicate toys, books and games that you are bound to get.  You may even repeat this process during their birthday or other special events where they may get an influx of new things.

If your day care provider or the local child care centers do not want your donations,  save them and give them to a local charity.  You will be doing a great service for the families and  children in your area and is much better than any of this ending up in a landfill.

If you give these items to a charity, save the list of what you have donated. Everything you donate is tax deductible and it can be fairly surprising how simple donations like this through the year can really add up.

You can even take this one step further and as a parent go through your own things.  Show your child that you do the same thing you asked them to do. It shows them that you enjoy giving to others as much as you enjoy their choice in giving.

For more great tips stop by Decide on Day Care’s Parenting Tips section!

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