There is still time for all taxpayers to claim their Arizona Tax Credit on the 2017 tax return. Donations made before April 15, 2018 are a dollar for dollar deduction on your 2017 AZ state return and if you itemize your federal tax returns, they are a deductible item. Arizona law (A.R.S. 43-1089.01) allows taxpayers to receive a tax credit of up $200 for a single individual or a head of household or $400 for a married couple filing a joint return for donations to public school districts. All Arizona taxpayers are eligible: you do not have to have children within the school district to benefit from this law nor do you have to live in the school district where you make your donation. Most important, it is not just a deduction, it’s a tax credit – it reduces what you owe in state taxes, dollar-for-dollar.
For small rural districts such as Patagonia and other public school districts in Santa Cruz County, these donations are crucial for extra-curricular activities such as sports, music and the arts as well as specialty programs. Patagonia Dean of Students Carmen Gomez, states, “The AZ Tax Credit Donations are very important to us! We only charge high school students $50/year to compete in sports, $30 for middle school students. Most schools charge students at least $50/sport; if a student participates in Soccer, Basketball and Baseball, it could cost a family $150/year. That is just too much for a family struggling to make ends meet. We have a high percentage of Title 1 students and want to keep our activities affordable so all our students have an opportunity of participate.”
At Patagonia, you can designate your donation to High School or Middle School athletics, the Band, the Swimming Pool, the FFA program, or allow the school to apply your donation to the area of greatest need. You can also designate for a specific child’s participation in an extracurricular activity.
Last year, Patagonia Public Schools (high school and elementary school) received a little over $23,000 in tax credit donations. The law is very restrictive about how the funds are used; all dollars must be applied to support efforts that directly benefit the students. For example, funds that go to the pool can only be used for swim lessons and life guards.
Last year, Patagonia used all the funds donated to sports for travel costs to away tournaments and other costs related to maintaining a competitive schedule. FFA also uses their designated funds to pay for travel expenses to their regional and state competitions.
Patagonia Athletic Director, Kenny Hayes states, “To date, we have received approximately $11,000 less than we received last year. I was hoping to increase our tax credit donations this year so we could compete in additional tournaments so the students gain more experience or pay for additional equipment to improve student performance.”
You can download the Extracurricular Tax Credit form from our website at http://www.patagonia.k12.az.us. If you have any further questions, you can call the school at (520) 394-3000