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home : opinions : commentary June 28, 2016

1/7/2012 1:05:00 PM
My Turn: School tax credits a gift you can give all year long
Ben Russel

Permit me to extol the virtues of winter for a moment.  I hope this is one of your favorite times of the year as it is mine.  I get giddy when the nights get cold enough to actually need a blanket. Fireplaces are crackling, hot cocoa is steaming, excitement is in the air, and the heat of summer is just a mirage. Who couldn’t be excited by all of this (except people who like their trees green)?

This is also an important time of year for families as we digest our holidays, make resolutions, and figure out how those school tax credits work. Some of you are already aware of Arizona’s tax credit contributions to public schools. What I would like to share with you is Arizona’s program tax credit program to support private schools. The Arizona Department of Revenue allows for families to give up to $1,000 (for married couples) of their state tax burden to support students enrolled in private schools.

Why am I telling you about tax credits after the new year? Many folks don’t realize that you now have until April 15 to direct your tax money to a school tuition organization (STO) and still claim it against last year’s taxes. One local STO is the Northern Arizona Christian School Scholarship Fund. Their brochures are available at most accountanting offices here in the Verde Valley.

Simply take a brochure with you when you get your taxes done, find out what your Arizona state tax burden was last year, and you can direct that much to an STO. In a short time, you will receive a refund of that amount from the state. The Arizona Department of Revenue website can also help answer any questions you have about tax credits, simply visit http://www.azdor.gov/TaxCredits/SchoolTaxCreditsforIndividuals.aspx.

Here are the benefits and FAQ’s of directing your tax dollars to an (STO):

• It costs you nothing.

• It supports students and families right here in the Verde Valley.

• It keeps your tax dollars here in the Verde Valley.

• It allows you to take a Federal Donation credit- most people actually receive a larger federal refund than if they hadn’t donated to an STO.

• It allows families greater school choice.

• It is easy.

• You don’t have to choose between the public and private school. You can give up to $1,000 (married couple) to an STO as well as $400 (married couple) to public school extra-curricular activities. You may want to consult your tax person regarding your specific situation as every situation is different.

With your support, our community at large and many families within it will benefit. That’s a thought to warm us all up during a cool Cottonwood winter! Now where did I set down that steaming cup of hot chocolate?

Ben Russel is the administrator at Verde Valley Christian School in Cottonwood.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, January 14, 2012
Article comment by: Glad I read this article!

This is a direct violation of seperation of church and state, and our public schools are bleeding to death because of this loophole. This loophole makes less and less taxes dollars available to public schools, who have to accept ANY student. Private and religious schools don't have to accept children with autism, learning disabilitys, behavior problems or even health problems. Our public schools are getting all these children, plus less funding due to money diversion tactics like this that are legal! If religious and private schools are accepting laundered money like this, then they need to follow the same guidelines and accept ANY student that applies.

Posted: Saturday, January 14, 2012
Article comment by: Lee Cali

And look who is extolling the virtues of tax credits. The principal of a RELIGIOUS school! In other words, tax money that would otherwise go into the State Treasury , some of which would be used to fund PUBLIC schools, would be diverted to private and religious schools.

And these schools can discriminate by keeping out kids with known behavior problems, minorities, and handicapped kids that public schools must accept and educate.

Is that what you call democratic?

Posted: Sunday, January 8, 2012
Article comment by: Gaia Gurl

Who needs VOUCHERS?

This program allows you to direct your TAXES directly to the schools of your choice! It costs you NOTHING.

Be they, PUBLIC, private or religious . . .

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