Deadline nears for tax credits program

KINGMAN - There are still a few days left in the year for Arizona state residents to take advantage of a pair of tax credits for donating to local public or private school programs.

Arizona allows taxpayers to deduct up to $200 from their taxes for single filers or $400 for married couples who donate money to local public school extracurricular programs and associated activities.

"The state Legislature says you can decide how to spend your tax dollars if you donate to a school for extracurricular activities," said Wanda Hubbard, finance director for the Kingman Unified School District. "It can go towards arts, the athletic programs, or any other extracurricular activity defined as optional, non-credit and that normally charges a fee."

In other words, those looking to put their tax dollars directly back into either local public school district can do so by agreeing to pay for things such as band uniforms, athletic equipment, school-sponsored academic teams, in-state and out-of-state trips for competitions and non-required educational field trips.

Hubbard noted, however, that the tax credits do not apply to donations for recreational trips, computers or any books, supplies or activities that could be considered a part of the district's regular, non-elective educational programming. They also don't apply to certain student-funded clubs or any elective activities that exclude based on race, gender or sexual orientation.

"We're careful when we call something a 'club' because a club typically defines an activity that's a student-funded program," Hubbard said. "So we try to use the word 'team' for those programs that are eligible."

Aside from those restrictions, Hubbard said donors can be as general or as specific as they wish depending on which programs they want their donations to fund. KUSD has provided forms for donors to fill out that are available at the district office at 3033 MacDonald Ave.

Donors can also mail donations to either KUSD or the Kingman Academy of Learning at 3400 Burbank St., though those hoping to meet the deadline for their 2010 tax returns should ensure their checks are mailed out no later than Dec. 31, otherwise they must wait until the following fiscal year to claim the donation on their tax forms.

Additionally, taxpayers can earn deductions of up to $500 for singles and $1,000 for married couples who donate to a school tuition organization that provides scholarships and grants to qualified private schools, including some local schools such as Emmanuel Christian Academy. For a full listing of qualified organizations, as well as additional information on tax credits for school donations, visit the Arizona Department of Revenue website at http://www.azdor.gov/TaxCredits/SchoolTaxCreditsforIndividuals.aspx.