Child care professionals: Apply now for the School Readiness Tax Credit

by | Dec 9, 2021

School Readiness Tax Credit benefits child care providers

Note: The School Readiness Tax Credit program ended with the 2021 tax year. First Five Nebraska is exploring legislation to reinstate the tax credits to provide these important financial supports for child care providers.

Nebraska licensed child care professionals, now is the time to apply for the School Readiness Tax Credit to file with your 2021 tax return. Applying for the credit is a multiple-step process, so it’s important to begin as soon as possible. It will take time to verify that you meet eligibility requirements, and takes several weeks for personnel at the state departments of Education and Revenue to process paperwork you’ll need to submit with your tax return.

The program offers two types of credits for child care professionals:

  • Child care staff members and self-employed child care providers (such as family home providers) may apply for a refundable tax credit if they have been employed for at least six months at a child care program that participates in Step Up to Quality, Nebraska’s child care quality rating and improvement system. Qualifying providers receive one of four levels of tax credit ranging from $540 to $1,620 based on their professional credentials, experience and training.
  • Child care programs rated between Step 3 and Step 5 in Step Up to Quality and who serve children through Nebraska’s Child Care Subsidy program may apply for a non-refundable tax credit. Credit amounts increase with Step ratings, with qualifying programs receiving between $250 and $750 in credits per subsidy-eligible child served.

Application guides in English, Spanish
We’ve created step-by-step guides in English and Spanish to walk you through the application process. Click on the thumbnails below to download the guides:

En Español:
Paso a paso: Cómo solicitar el crédito fiscal reembolsable de preparación escolar de Nebraska
Paso a paso: Cómo solicitar el crédito fiscal no reembolsable de preparación escolar de Nebraska

Seeking reauthorization in 2022
First Five Nebraska worked closely with lawmakers and partner organizations during the 2020 legislative session to update the School Readiness Tax Credit Act so this important support is available to as many child care professional as possible. As a result, the 2020 tax year had the largest number of applications since the program began in 2016.

The current tax credits end with the 2021 tax year, but efforts are underway to introduce legislation in January to reauthorize the program so providers will continue to benefit from these financial supports.

To learn more about eligibility requirements for the School Readiness Tax Credit, visit:


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