Linda Zell

Linda Zell

It is not too late to take Arizona tax credits for 2021, providing you have not filed your taxes yet. The deadline to take advantage of tax credits is April 18 or when you file your taxes, whichever comes first. The tax deadline falls during Passover; a time to reflect on what previous Jewish generations endured to be able to pass the faith on for generations to come. In that spirit, consider investing in the future of the Jewish community by taking advantage of Arizona’s various tax credit programs.

What are the tax credits and how do they work? The tax credit programs allow taxpayers to take a dollar-for-dollar credit against their state tax liability to support the state’s nonprofit organizations. There are several different tax credits including the Qualifying Charitable Organization (QCO), Private School Tuition Organization (STO), Qualifying Foster Care Charitable Organizations (QFCO), Arizona Military Family Relief Fund and public schools. There is also a corporate private school tuition program, but has its own requirements and deadlines. If interested in the corporate program, call a school tuition organization (STO) or visit the Arizona Department of Revenue website at azdor.gov for more information.

Each tax credit has a maximum amount that varies, although you can take advantage of each of the credits for a total of close to $6,000. Taxpayers can be divide their support within each category of tax credit, but cannot exceed the maximum amount for that category. For example, the 2021 maximum amount for the private school tuition tax credit is $1,219 for individual taxpayers and $2,435 for married couples. A taxpayer can give the maximum to one STO or they can divide their support among several STOs, as long as the total does not exceed the maximum amount allowed for the private school tuition tax credit. Taxpayers have the opportunity to support causes that are meaningful for them through the tax credits without an additional cost to the family budget. The various qualified organizations and details for each type of credit can be found on the Arizona Department of Revenue’s website.

Funds raised through the Arizona tax credits support programs of each of the qualifying organizations. For example, the private school tuition program, through STOs, provides scholarships for children to go to private schools that are the right choice for their specific educational and family needs, the public school tax credit provides for field trips or afterschool activities and giving to qualifying charitable organization supports a range of programs depending on the organization such as assistance for food, rent/mortgage, healthcare and other basic needs.

The East Valley Jewish Community Center, Gesher Disability Resources, Jewish Free Loan, Kivel Campus of Care, Jewish Family & Children’s Service and Jewish Tuition Organization have a collaborative website at jewishtaxcredit.org that makes it easy for taxpayers to support these organizations. The Jewish Tuition Organization is a school tuition organization and the other five members of the collaborative group are qualifying charitable organizations. The group came together to make it easy for members of the community to be able to support organizations of choice at one time either through a brochure mailing that goes out at the end of the year or at jewishtaxcredit.org. The Qualifying Charitable Organization tax credit maximum amounts are $400 for individuals and $800 for married couples and as with the previous STO example, you can give the maximum to one organization or divide the amount among several.

When you support a Jewish tax credit organization you are making a difference in the lives of members of your own community now and ultimately the future, and you are choosing a cause that is close to your heart. Consider making a difference for a family or a person in need as you prepare your 2021 taxes and take the credit. JN

Linda Zell is the executive director of the Jewish Tuition Organization, jtophoenix.org.