Fees for dance classes, cash for leotards and dollars for dance shoes aren't normally tax write-offs. Even if you're straining to provide your kid with the dance classes she loves, the government will not be touched by your plight. There are, however, exceptions that you may be able to use to deduct some of your expenses.
If you use dance class as child care -- somewhere your kid can spend time while you're at work -- then the fees may qualify for the child-care tax credit. With the credit, you take money off your taxes, not your taxable income, but the credit is limited. The most you can claim is up to 35 percent of the first $3,000 you spent for one child, or 35 percent of the first $6,000 you spent for two or more children. You can only claim the credit if you and your spouse need to put your children somewhere while you work or look for work.
If your child decides to major in dance, you can claim a deduction for her college tuition and fees of up to $4,000, as of 2012. It has to be for college: K-12 education doesn't count, even if you're paying to send your child to private school. The child has to be your dependent: If your ex claims your kid as a dependent, you don't get the tuition deduction even if you pay the tuition.
If your child is lucky enough to earn some money dancing, you can deduct her expenses as business costs. If her dance gigs qualify as a business -- she's making a profit or can reasonably expect to -- she can deduct the costs from any other taxable income she has. If the cost of tap shoes and dance classes is more than she earns, however, the IRS will probably treat her money as hobby income. In that case she can only deduct dance expenses equal to her dance income.
When you itemize deductions, you can either write off state income tax bills or state sales taxes. If you take off sales taxes, you include any tax on your child's dance magazines, dance outfits or shoes. And any money you donate to the school to support a dance program could earn you a tax deduction for charitable giving. This only works if you give to the team -- you can't count payments for your kid's fees or equipment specifically.
A graduate of Oberlin College, Fraser Sherman began writing in 1981. Since then he's researched and written newspaper and magazine stories on city government, court cases, business, real estate and finance, the uses of new technologies and film history. Sherman has worked for more than a decade as a newspaper reporter, and his magazine articles have been published in "Newsweek," "Air & Space," "Backpacker" and "Boys' Life." Sherman is also the author of three film reference books, with a fourth currently under way.