taxes

“Taxes - Illustration”  

Tax day was pushed back again this year to May 17, 2021. Just like last year, the IRS extended the filing timeline to help taxpayers navigate the unusual circumstances related to the pandemic. But this year, there is a key difference: The deadline for supporting tax credit organizations in Arizona was also extended to May 17.

Taxpayers taking advantage of the May 17 extension to file taxes can also support a tax credit organization and receive a dollar-for-dollar Arizona tax credit against their state taxes up to this date.

Last year, the filing deadline was extended until July but the tax credit deadline remained April 15, which created confusion. People can’t claim more than they owe in state taxes, and last year donors held back on giving since they didn’t know how much they owed until the credit deadline had passed.

Jewish agencies and others providing critical services to people in need hope the fact that both deadlines are now the same day will make things more clear for donors wishing to take the tax credit.

However, there has been some confusion already.

Supporters of Jewish Tuition Organization have been calling Linda Zell, JTO’s executive director, to ask if it is too late to take the credit.

“We’ve received many calls asking about the deadline and often they are surprised to know they have until May 17 or whenever they file their taxes, whichever comes first,” Zell said. “The calls make us believe that many people who are not calling may think it’s too late, and given the challenges of this past year, it’s important for people to know they can still help the community, make a real difference and receive a tax credit.”

There are many Jewish charitable organizations that qualify for the tax credit, including Kivel Campus of Care, Gesher Disability Resources, Jewish Family & Children’s Service, Jewish Free Loan and East Valley Jewish Community Center among others. There are also tax credits for foster care, public schools and veteran organizations. The tax credit is something many Jewish agencies and others depend upon to fund certain services and student tuition.

Amy Hummell, executive director of Gesher, said another challenge is simply letting people know about the credit at all. “So many people do not realize that it is available and do not take advantage of the tax credits,” she said, via email.

And the credits really make a difference for an agency like Gesher. “Tax credit dollars have a large impact on Gesher’s bottom line making up 20% of our annual revenue,” Hummell said. “This allows Gesher to offer programs at little to no cost to the disability community.”

Gail Baer, JFCS’ vice president of philanthropy, also stressed the importance of the tax credit program. “Thanks to the support from the community, JFCS is providing help to thousands of vulnerable individuals with urgent and critical relief,” she said, via email. “The generosity from the Arizona Charitable Tax credit helps sustain our services and maintains a vital lifeline for a healthy community.”

Jessielyn Hirschl, JFL’s marketing and communications manager, agreed that there is some confusion this year created by last year’s differing deadlines. JFL has been promoting this year’s date in marketing materials and advising people to check with a tax professional for any clarification, Hirschl said.

Rabbi Michael Beyo, EVJCC’s CEO, is more sanguine about the situation this year.

“We have noticed that some recurring donors gave less than in previous years, but we’ve also received some new donors so it balanced out,” he said, via email. “The extension in the tax credit deadline did cause some confusion but we also received additional donations after the original filing deadline so we’re not complaining.”

This was a difficult year for many nonprofits and there is an increase in need and a decrease in funds, Zell said. Participating in the various tax credit programs that are offered by Arizona, taxpayers can support qualifying organizations while receiving credit against their state tax liability.

“It’s a great way to give back to the community and the causes close to each taxpayer without using additional dollars that may be needed by the taxpayer,” said Zell. JN

If you have not filed your 2020 taxes yet, and wish to participate in the dollar-for-dollar tax credit programs, you have until May 17. To support the Jewish organizations referred to in this article visit jewishtaxcredit.org.

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