Q. My wife and I chose to send my son (who is seven years old) to private school. This year, we were told by the school that our child does not qualify to deduct the full tuition. We have always done so in the past. Is this correct? How much can we deduct?
— Frank and Maria

A. Childcare expenses can be deducted for children up to 16 years of age. Generally, the parent with the lesser income must claim the deduction (there are other circumstances when the higher income may claim).

A Parent may deduct as following — the lesser of:

• The actual amount paid

• Two-thirds of the parent income

• $7,000 for children under seven years old/$4,000 for children between seven and 16 years old.

Generally, private school tuition is not considered childcare, however an amount maybe apportioned to childcare. Your educational institution will determine what portion is childcare. Parents of children in religious or affiliated institutions may qualify to deduct the non-childcare portion as charitable donations. Check with your tax adviser.

Q. Last year was my first year as a real estate agent. Can I deduct home cost from my commissions? — Ali

A. Yes! Provided it is your principal place of business or used exclusively to earn income and to meet customers on a regular and continuous basis.

Your claim is limited to the income earned in the year as an agent. Real estate agents and commissioned individuals should see their accountant for other claims allowed.

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