A new Arizona state tax credit allows taxpayers to double their donations to the Jewish Education Tax Credit Organization, JETCO — without costing them a penny. Earlier this year, the Arizona legislature passed SB1047 to give children enrolled in public schools the opportunity to switch to private schools by increasing available scholarships.
Beginning in 2012, the maximum allowable tax credit donation has been increased to $2,006 for married couples filing jointly and $1,003 for individual filers. This is due to the addition of a new “switcher” credit. Tax credit contributions that exceed $1,006 for married couples filing jointly and $503 for individual filers (the original state tax credit maximums) are allocated to the switcher credit. The maximum allowable donation to the switcher credit is $1,000 for married couples filing jointly and $500 for individual filers.
Students who may qualify for a switcher tax credit scholarship include those on waiting lists, incoming siblings of current students, dependents of active duty military on orders in Arizona, students who were in public school for at least 90 days of the prior academic year, children entering kindergarten and those who received a scholarship from the private school tax credit corporate program. Students who receive scholarships through the switcher tax credit may continue to receive such funds in subsequent years. Students who are currently on scholarships funded by the individual state tax credit are not eligible for switcher scholarships.
Through private school tuition state tax credits, JETCO provides scholarships to students in need at Tucson Hebrew Academy and the kindergartens at Congregation Anshei Israel, Temple Emanu-El and the Tucson Jewish Community Center.
“JETCO scholarships support more than half of the students at THA,” says Arthur Yavelberg, THA head of school. “This funding is crucial to maintaining a diverse Jewish educational landscape in Tucson. And donors get back every dollar they give — up to the maximum credit — so it doesn’t cost them anything.”
Donors who contribute more than their Arizona state income tax liability can carry over the difference as a tax credit for up to five years. They can also take advantage of public school and working poor Arizona state tax credits, to maximize their charitable giving. A JETCO monthly payment option is available.
Arizona’s business community can also contribute to JETCO and claim an Arizona income tax credit. C-Corps that pay Arizona corporate income tax and S-Corps that file a 120 corporate income tax return can donate money to receive a credit.
Contributions to JETCO may not be designated for a specific child or school — all contributions go into one fund. The monies are distributed to JETCO’s four beneficiary schools to provide scholarships for students in need.