|12/11/2012 10:00:00 PM|
Money where your math is: Donations help schools, earn tax credits
|Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier|
Third grader Ethan Lowe considers what to add to the tree house he is building at the Miller Valley School after school Lego club that is funded by donated tax credit money.
|Courtesy Sacred Heart School|
Sacred Heart Catholic School students gather for a school picture. Nearly 66 percent of students receive tuition support from donation tax credits from the Catholic Education Association, said Beverly Aviles, development director for Sacred Heart Catholic School.
The Daily Courier
After 11 Miller Valley students performed the dance to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" in the multipurpose room Monday after school, fourth-grader Denis Vera Reyes said she liked learning new dance moves with her friends.
"You get to have fun," said Jade Robertson, a dance student and a fifth-grader.
Before they started their next dance, Elizabeth De La Cruz said she loved dancing, and Rachel Chunglo, their teacher, said the students learned a little ballet, salsa, the electric slide, the macarena and so much more.
Prescott-area schools hope people are aware that there is still time to receive a tax credit for making donations that help pay for public and charter school students' extracurricular activities, private school students' tuition payments, and qualified 501(c)(3) charities continued good works.
"Donations help pay for the after school Gold Mine clubs and enrichment activities that allow students to stay for an extra hour and do cooking, dance, Legos, soccer, tumbling and get homework assistance," said Jeff Lane, principal at Miller Valley School. "They help keep our schoolyard garden program going, and pay for field trips, including the fifth-grade's culminating activity where students go camping at Mingus Mountain."
Most people know that they can donate $200 if single or $400 if married to public and charter schools or qualified 501(C)3 nonprofits and reduce their Arizona state tax with a credit in the amount of their donation.
Many may also realize that they can also donate $1,003 if single or $2,006 if married to a private school for tuition assistance and receive a state tax credit.
But few likely know that they can receive tax credits for donations to both in the same year if they have that amount of tax liability, said Beverly Aviles, development director for Sacred Heart Catholic School.
"Tax credits are based on your state tax liability, not the tax amount still due when you file your taxes," Aviles said. "Just because you did the public school tax credit doesn't mean you can't do the private school one also. If you have the liability, you can do all tax credits."
For more information on the tax credits and forms to claim them, go online to the Arizona Department of Revenue website at www.azdor.gov/TaxCredits.aspx.
All donations must be made by Monday, Dec. 31, to apply to this year's taxes, but people filing a state extension can donate to private schools up until April 15, 2013.
"It's a win-win situation," said Joan Fleming, a Prescott Unified School District Governing Board member. "Don't forget - $200 can do our kids good."
People interested in donating to public schools can choose a specific school, all schools in the district, or divide it between specific funds to help pay for students' field trips, band, sports, clubs, activities, and pay-to-play athletic fees.
Tax credits for private schools go toward students' tuition and the maximum amount has doubled from last year, Aviles said.
At Sacred Heart Catholic School, 79 out of 156 students receive the maximum support from Catholic Education Arizona - 75 percent off their tuition - and 24 students received tuition help in a lesser amount, Aviles said.
"A total of 103 students are receiving support from Catholic Education Arizona, about 66 percent of the student body," Aviles said.
Students' families apply for tuition support from CEA through a third party that analyzes federal tax returns and an online application that includes whether the family supports relatives, has kids in college, pays for teen drivers' insurance, children's orthodontics, house repairs, and medical expenses, Aviles said.
Some private school tuition organizations allow donors to specify a child to benefit from their donation, but CEA awards tax credit money on demonstrated financial need, Aviles said.
"The great state of Arizona really does make it possible for us to put our tax dollars to work where we want it to go, helping people we want to help, and staying in our community," Aviles said. "We just need to better understand the process.
To donate to Sacred Heart Catholic School, please go online to www.sacredhearteducation.com, and to donate to PUSD go to mypusd.prescottschools.com.
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