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Daycare Center Expenses

For Self Employed Daycare Providers

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Starting in 2003, self-employed daycare providers can claim standard rates for meal and snacks, instead of keeping exact records for actual expenses paid throughout the year. The standard rates are provided in IRS Publication 587, Business Use of the Home (PDF), page 13. In the same publication on page 29, there's a weekly log for you to keep track of meals and snacks provided. For 2004, the standard rates per child per meal are as follows:
  • Breakfast: $0.99
  • Lunch: $1.57
  • Dinner: $1.15
There are higher rates for daycare providers in Alaska and Hawaii. See page 13 of Publication 587 (PDF).

Daycare meal expenses are claimed on Schedule C as a business expense. You may claim your actual daycare meal expenses if they are higher than the standard rates, but you must keep accurate records of your expenses.

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