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*Arizona State Tax Credit Donations

ORANGE GROVE NEEDS YOUR PUBLIC SCHOOL TAX CREDIT DONATION

If you don't know about Arizona’s tax credit for public schools, this is the page for you.  In today’s reality of ever-shrinking education budgets, every parent in Arizona with school-aged children in public schools needs to be aware of this program and how it benefits student(s).  The following is a helpful Q and A about this program and why you need to participate.

What is the Arizona Public School Tax Credit?

The Arizona tax code allows all state taxpayers to take a tax credit—a dollar-for-dollar reduction of state tax liability—if they donate to a specific public school’s fee-based, extracurricular programs.  Even if a taxpayer doesn’t have school-aged children, he/she can make a donation to benefit a public school’s programs.  If you don’t make a state tax credit donation, you will simply pay the money to the state instead of being able to direct the money to benefit a school.

My Student Isn’t Enrolled in Extracurricular, Fee-Based Programs.  Why Should I Keep Reading? 

Because your student will benefit from tax credit monies donated to Orange Grove and spent on the campus.  Please keep reading just a little bit more.

How Does it Work?

·      You—the taxpayer—donate to your public school:  $200 for individuals, $400 for married taxpayers filing jointly. You direct your donation to the CFSD school(s) of your choice. The donation can be split between any of the seven district schools. 

·      You complete this form and attach a check payable to the district, which will then send you a receipt for your tax return preparation.

·      Or, you complete the district’s online payment form and submit payment online. You will be able to print your own receipt.

·      When you file your tax return, you reduce your state tax liability by the amount of your donation.  If you owe $500 on your tax return and had previously donated $400, your tax liability would be only $100.  Similarly, if your final tax liability were $200 you’d receive a refund of $200.  And, the donation is tax deductible on your federal income tax return.[1]

How Are Tax Credit Donations Used?

These donations pay for a portion of salaries paid to coaches/instructors of after-school programs. We have seen increases in fees charged for after-school programs due to budget cuts from the state.  These increases would have been even steeper without tax credit donations that are used to pay salaries.  Tax credit donations are also used to purchase materials, supplies and equipment for these programs.

My Student Isn’t Enrolled in After-School, Fee-Based Programs.  Why Should My Family Donate to This?

Even if students are NOT enrolled in after-school programs, they will still benefit from your donation.  We can pay for equipment and supplies with this money as well.  Equipment and supplies used by extracurricular, after-school programs are, in many cases, also used during the school day for the general student population[2].  For example:

The audio system in the MPR needs to be upgraded.  Since this system is used for basketball games and jazz band concerts (both fee-based, extracurricular programs) tax credit monies could be used to purchase a new system which would also be used during PE classes, in-school assemblies, concerts by the band and choir or for after-school socials.

Expenditures supported with tax credit dollars are subject to an approval process that includes consultation with the school principal, district administrators and the school site council. Use of this example does not mean that future donations will be spent in this way, but, this example arose from a legitimate concern of Orange Grove administration at this time.

This Is a Pretty Convoluted System.  Why Do We Have To Jump Through These Hoops Just to Pay for Basic Needs of our Students?

As state funding for public education gets leaner, local administrators have to get more creative with the dollars available to them.  Tax credit donations are an important source of funds that have mitigated the affect of state budget cuts over the last few years. 

What Do You Want Me To Do? 

·      We want you to print out the form and write a check before the end of the year, OR go online and complete the online payment form.  We have set a goal to receive tax credit donations from 25% of Orange Grove families or—139 families.  If each of these 139 families donated the maximum $400—we would generate $55,600 in funds to benefit our school. 

·      We want you to print out this article and hand it to your parents, your in-laws or your friends who don’t have children enrolled in other public school districts.  Ask them to make a donation on behalf of Orange Grove.

Why is This Goal So Low?

In the past, only about 70 families made a tax credit donation to benefit Orange Grove.  We heartily thank these families and invite all other Orange Grove families to follow suit.  If we meet this goal of 25% of our families, we will nearly double our prior years' totals.  That’s a huge increase.

This Seems Like a No-Brainer.  Why Are Donations So Low? 

·      Many parents aren’t aware of the program.  And, it can be hard to explain to someone. So, print out this article and hand it to a friend.

·      Parents don’t realize their kids can benefit even if they are not enrolled in after-school, fee-based programs.

·      Parents have to front the money and wait for the refund.  A family can lessen this impact to their cash flow by waiting until the end of the year to donate.  They can then file their tax return as soon as possible and get their money back.

What If I Have Questions That Aren’t Answered In This Article?

Call your friendly, neighborhood Orange Grove FFO president, Carol Thomas at 520-577-3777 or email at carolthomas3777@gmail.com.  Even though this donation money can’t be spent by the FFO, the FFO avidly supports the district in its efforts to plug the funding gaps it and all public school districts are facing. 

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[1] If you are in a 25% federal tax bracket and you itemize deductions, you would reduce your federal tax liability by $100 ($400 x .25), which is equivalent to earning 25% on your donation.  As with anything tax-related, you should consult your tax advisor when reporting donations on tax returns.

[2] The state has not allocated building renewal funds to public schools for several years now.  Sometimes tax credit donations are the only way repairs and renovations are possible.