12/18/2013 9:56:00 AM Commentary Tax credits help you, the community
By David Snyder Special to the Tribune
The end of the 2013 tax year is coming and the final chances to help your individual tax situation are coming up. Luckily, the State of Arizona has four tax credits that can help you reduce your tax. The four tax credits are:
Arizona Military Family Relief Fund - $400 for married filing jointly, and $200 for all other filing statuses including single, head of household and married filing separately. This credit helps those families with members on military deployment. You can find this credit online at http://dvs.az.gov/benefits/relief_fund.aspx.
Working Poor Tax Credit - $400 married filing jointly and $200 for other statuses. This credit helps the working poor and you can use non-profit 501 C (3) groups like the Prescott Sunrise Lions at prescottsunriselions.org and the Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters. You can also Google "AZ tax credit working poor" for the other non-profit organizations that help the working poor.
Area Public Schools - $400 married filing jointly and $200 for other statuses. An individual may claim a credit for making contributions or paying fees to a public school for support of extracurricular activities or character education programs. This program can be found at several sites including www.humboldtunified.com and www.prescottschools.com.
School Tuition Program (STO) - $2,062 married filing jointly and $1,034 for all other statuses. These programs help provide scholarships for low-income students at schools such as Sacred Heart (www.sacredheartprescott.com) and Primavera (OrmePrimaveraSchoolsFoundation.org). Other STO's can be found by Googling "Arizona School Tuition Organizations."
You can pay one or all four of these tax credits - totaling as much as $3,262 - and, if you owed $3,262 in taxes to the state on your personal tax return, the credits would eliminate the entire tax owed.
If you paid the same amount of credits and only owed $2,000 in state taxes, you would eliminate that entire $2,000 in taxes and the remaining $1,262 could be carried forward up to five years. You cannot get a refund from these credits, but the partial or full elimination of the tax due could possibly allow you to receive a refund of your Arizona payroll tax withholdings.
The added benefits of utilizing tax credits is that you keep your money local, thereby seeing the good the money can do. Also the tax credits can be used as charitable contributions on your federal tax return. How much this helps you on your federal tax liability depends on several factors, including your individual tax bracket.
The tax credits need to be paid by Dec. 31, 2013, to be allowable for 2013, except that the School Tuition Program allows a state extension to pay this tax credit as late as April 15, 2014.
The tax credits not only help you in your personal tax situation, but also help your community. Please consider contributing to these tax credit programs.