Arizona tax law (ARS 43-1089.01) 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). The credit is equal to the amount contributed or the amount of fees paid. However, the credit cannot exceed $200 for single taxpayers or heads of household. For married taxpayers who file a joint return, the credit cannot exceed $400. If married taxpayers file separate returns, each spouse may claim 1/2 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. These programs depend on fees from students. Download the brochure to read about this valuable program and how you can participate. This HYPERLINK to Arizona Department of Revenue has additional information. Donations must be postmarked by midnight December 31 to be eligible for the current year.
What is a tax credit? This is a tax credit, 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 it’s 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 designate it for any extracurricular activity or character education program you choose.
Do I have to donate the full $200 or $400? No, you may donate up to your $200 or $400 limit in installments during the calendar year, or donate it at one time.
Do I have to live within a certain radius of our school? 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.