Any Tax Breaks for Homeschoolers?
Parent at the Helm is proud to present to you the newest member of the PATH crew, Carol Topp, CPA, whom you may also know as “HomeschoolCPA” and author of Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out, on the topic of tax breaks for homeschoolers. When she’s not sailing the seven seas on behalf of Parent at the Helm, Carol enjoys land in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband and has two daughters, one in college and one finishing homeschool high school.
By Carol Topp, CPA
It’s tax season! I want to address a topic that I am frequently asked about this time every year:
Are there tax breaks for homeschoolers and their expenses?
Can a homeschool family deduct any of their homeschool expenses?
The simple answer is, “No; there are no tax credits or deductions for homeschool expenses from the federal government.”
The longer answer is, “Maybe, depending on what state you live in.”
State Tax Credits for Education
Several states have an educational tax credit. Iowa, Arizona, Minnesota and Illinois all have some sort of tax break for individuals. The credit is available to any public or private school student, so they are not uniquely tax breaks for homeschoolers. Georgia and Indiana offer a tax credit to individuals making charitable contributions to a scholarship fund, while Florida, and Pennsylvania offer businesses tax credits if they sponsor a scholarship.
This document has a chart of education tax credits and deductions by state (updated November 2008). Scroll to page 6 to see the chart.
Home School Legal Defense Association has an explanation of some states’ tax breaks or credits:
Some Oppose Tax Breaks for Homeschoolers
Several national homeschool organizations such as HSLDA several homeschool bloggers oppose tax breaks for homeschoolers because there may be strings attached in the form of government regulations.
“Homeschoolers have fought far too long and much too hard to throw off the chains of government regulation that hinder effective education and interfere with liberty. It would be inconsistent and foolhardy to accept government tax incentives in exchange for government regulation.”
for more discussion on the disadvantages of a tax deduction for homeschool expenses.
Clever Ideas to Find Tax Deductions
Homeschoolers sometimes get creative and wonder they could start a business or a nonprofit organization of their homeschool activities and then deduct their expenses. But the IRS will not grant tax exempt 501(c)(3) status to an organization composed of only one family; they grant tax exempt status to nonprofit organizations that provide for a public good. Likewise, a homeschool business could only deduct expenses related to the business, and not personal expenses such as books for your family.
Ann Zeise of A to Z Home’s Cool addresses these ideas and she states,
“You cannot contribute to your own child’s K12 education and get any tax deduction for it, no more than if you sent him to a private school and tried to write off the tuition. IRS regulations are pretty clear that you can only write off educational expenses that apply to post-high school expenses. The IRS states:
‘For purposes of the tuition and fees deduction, an eligible student is a student who is enrolled in one or more courses at an eligible educational institution (as defined under Qualified Education Expenses, earlier). The student must have either a high school diploma or a General Educational Development (GED) credential.’”
For more information please visit www.CarolToppCPA.com.
We hope this helps you understand tax breaks for homeschoolers.