The Colorado Department of Early Childhood (CDEC) became operational as of July 1, 2022. Credentials for Early Childhood Education were previously established, issued, and managed by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), however the management of the early childhood education credential program was transferred from CDE to CDEC on July 1, 2022 as the new department became operational. The tax credit is available beginning with tax year 2022.
Those professionals who are also Colorado Residents may now qualify for the Early Childhood Educator Income Tax Credit.
In order to qualify for this credit, you must have:
- A federal adjusted gross income (AGI) less than or equal to $75,000 if filing a single return or less than equal to $150,000 if filing jointly
- Held an Early Childhood Professional Credential issued by the Colorado Department of Early Childhood for at least part of the income tax year, and
- Been either the licensee of an eligible program or employed by an eligible program for at least six months of the income tax year. "Eligible program" means either an early childhood education program as defined in section 26.5-2-202(3), C.R.S. or a licensed family child care home. "Family child care home" has the same meaning as set forth in section 26.5-5-303(7), C.R.S. An eligible program must have held at least a level one quality rating pursuant to the Colorado Shines Quality Rating and Improvement System (Coloradoshines.com/programs) during the income tax year.
The amount of credit is based on your credential level in the income tax year. If you earn a higher level early childhood professional credential in the same income tax year, the amount of credit is based on the highest early childhood professional credential attained during that income tax year. Please see the chart below for credit amounts:
|Highest Level of Early Childhood Professional Credit Held||2022 Tax Credit Amounts||2023 Tax Credit Amounts|
|Early Childhood Professional I||$750||$850|
|Early Childhood Professional II||$1,000||$1,080|
|Early Childhood Professional III, IV, V, or VI||$1,500||$1,620|
How do I claim the Early Childhood Educator Income Tax Credit?
The Early Childhood Educator Income Tax Credit is claimed using the DR 1703. The DR 1703 must be filed with your Individual Income Tax Return. This form can be completed electronically or by paper.
File an electronic return using our free and secure Revenue Online service at Colorado.gov/RevenueOnline. you may also file using third party tax software or with a paid tax preparer. Please be aware that not all third party tax software supports the credit.
File Using a Paper Return of Downloaded PDF Form
File by paper by downloading and completing the following PDF Forms:
DR 1703 - Early Childhood Educator Income Tax Credit Affidavit with Instructions
DR 104CR - Individual Credit Schedule
DR 0104 - Individual Income Tax Return
Completed forms should be mailed following the instructions included with the DR0104.