Making a contribution to receive an Arizona public education tax credit is simple. You can get a tax credit up to $200 for an individual or $400 per married couple.
Beginning in 2016, credit eligible fees paid and contributions made to a public school from January 1 through April 15 of the calendar year may be used as a tax credit on the prior year's tax return. For example, qualifying contributions made to a public school January 1, 2017 to April 15, 2017 may be used as a tax credit on either your 2016 or 2017 Arizona income tax return. (Pub 707 AZDOR). For additional information, call (602) 449-2049.
Arizona tax law allows taxpayers a credit for contributions made or fees paid to a public school for support of extracurricular activities or character education(as defined in ARS 15-719. If married taxpayers file separate returns, each spouse may claim one-half of the credit that would have been allowed on a joint return. Extracurricular activities such as sports, band, speech and debate or overnight field trips are generally not fully funded by school districts, so your donation directly supports students.
What is a tax credit?
A tax credit is not a tax deduction. A tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in the actual tax owed. For example, if you owe $900 in state income taxes and you donate $400 to a public school for extracurricular activities, you may subtract the $400 from your tax bill and pay the state just $500.
What is an extracurricular activity?
Extracurricular activity means any optional, non-credit educational or recreational activity that supplements the education program of the school. Activities such as sports, visual and performing arts, special programs, field trips, character education, clubs or outdoor education can be funded with tax credit money. Extracurricular activities help children develop qualities such as leadership, team play and cooperation as well as provide safe, supervised activities after school hours.
What is a character education program?
A character education program is a program defined in ARS § 15-719. Under this statute each district may develop its own course of study for each grade. At a minimum, the character education program must include instruction in the definition and application of at least six of the following character traits: truthfulness, responsibility, compassion, diligence, sincerity, trustworthiness, respect, attentiveness, obedience, orderliness, forgiveness and virtue.
Who is eligible?
This tax credit is available to all Arizona individual taxpayers regardless of whether or not they have children in school. An individual can contribute and receive a tax credit for any amount up to $200, or a couple filing jointly can contribute up to $400.
Does all of my money go to extracurricular activities?
Yes, 100 percent of your donation goes directly to the schools for extracurricular activities that benefit students by enriching campus life and learning. None of the money is used for overhead.
Can I designate where I want my money to go?
Yes, you can say where you want your donation to go. You can choose your child's school, split the donation between on or more Paradise Valley schools, and designate it for any extracurricular activity or character education program you choose. You can donate to a school based on student poverty, type of activity, grade levels or location. If you want to donate to a school or an activity where not all parents can afford to contribute, you may do this.
Do I have to donate the full $200 or $400?
You may donate any amount but you will only receive tax credit for the $200 or $400 limit. You may donate in installments during the calendar year, or donate it at one time.
Do I have to live within the Paradise Valley Unified School District?
No, any individual who pays Arizona State income tax can donate. Anyone with or without children, married or single, can take advantage of this tax credit.
Note: We do our best to ensure that your donation is used for the purpose(s) you specify. But if for some reason your donation cannot be used for that activity, such as when a field trip or a performance is cancelled, the school will use your money to support another worthwhile eligible activity.