Income Tax Credit for Home-Schooling Families

February 11, 2014

Home schooling families should receive tax credits to offset their income tax burden, says the Libertas Institute.

  • In Utah, 100 percent of the state's income tax must be put toward education.
  • Many families, however, choose not to use public education but are still forced to fund the education of other children.

Utah currently offers a series of tax credits to minimize tax burdens on certain citizens and to encourage behavior. For example, adopting a special needs child qualifies a person for a tax credit, as does employing a veteran or using a medical savings account. Home schooling families should also receive such a tax credit because they are required to fund schools that they are not using.

Libertas offers a proposal that would allow Utah homeschooling families to cover their own education costs before funding other families' costs:

  • The proposal would allow homeschool parents to receive a tax credit of $500 for each home-schooled child.
  • Home schooling costs vary among families. Some spend only $200 on materials for an entire school year, while others spend more -- $500 would be somewhere in the middle and would help to supplement schooling budgets for parents who would like to be able to spend more.
  • The tax credit is available only up to the point of a family's income tax obligation. If a family owes $200 in income taxes and has one homeschooled child, the family would only receive a $200 credit.

In 2012, 8,260 Utah children were homeschooled. By applying the credit, the state would lose only 0.1 percent of its public school funding if all families received a $500 credit, just $4 million less in revenue. But Libertas estimates that many families will not receive the full credit, and some will not receive it at all. In that case, the state would only lose $2 million.

Source: "Income Tax Credit for Home-schooling Families," Libertas Institute, January 2014.

 

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