Thanks largely to COVID, summer camps have been widely unavailable for the last couple of years. It’s very welcome news that camps are now back, all across the country. Even better, parents can use their pre-tax dependent care dollars to pay camp fees.
Summer Camp Costs
There are numerous options for children’s summer activities, including various age-appropriate, themed experiences and durations. For camps with significant academic components or more complex themes (usually targeted at older children), fees tend to be higher.
According to Summer Camp Hub, the average 2023 daily tuition rates for private, for-profit camps will range from $70-$120 for day camps and $170-$325 for overnight camps. In some areas, free and lower-cost options may also be available. Factors that impact camp costs include:
- Staffing and related training
- Land and geographic location
- Facilities and equipment
- Insurance and licensing fees
- Specialty costs such as materials needed to support themes and programs
If struggling to afford summer camp, ask about financial aid, lower rates for multiple children, and discounts for early registration, advance payments, or automatic withdrawals.
Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts
Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts, or DCFSAs, are employer-sponsored benefit accounts. Parents choose a certain amount to set aside pre-tax from payroll to use for qualified care expenses. By lowering their taxable income, payroll taxes are reduced. Funds are then used to pay care costs for children from birth through age 12. Funds can also be used to pay care costs for dependents over the age of 12 (including elderly parents) who are unable to care for themselves.
Using Your DCFSA for Summer Camp
DCFSA funds can be used for in-person summer day camp tuition and enrollment fees. However, they cannot be used for expenses related to virtual camps and overnight camps.
Fees can be paid using a DCFSA-linked debit card or reimbursed in response to a claim filed online or by mobile app. Regardless of how paid, parents should get and keep a receipt in case asked for one to prove the transaction involved a qualified expense. Receipts should list the name(s) and age(s) of the child(ren), date(s), camp information (name, location, and tax ID number), and itemized costs.
Summer is Right Around the Corner
Summer camps are BACK! Register soon, before camps fill up, to ensure a fun, active, and engaging summer for your children.