Missouri is considering, this year, offering tax credits to homeschoolers. Perhaps it is in reaction to the long list of educational reform bills which include one, HJR 10, that is also flirting with the idea of creating a voucher program. HB618 sponsored by Jason Holsman is a bill that allows for a tax deduction of up to $500 per year for school supplies used for the purpose of homeschooling a child.
The great tax credit/voucher debate is still ongoing. Can you take tax credits or any kind of government assistance and remain sovereign? While the differences are large, between tax credits and vouchers, there will always be the question of how the government determines what criteria constitutes “supplies”. Would you be required to submit documentation of the “supplies” you use to be eligible for the deduction? Would registration be required as well?
This article in Home Education Magazine has a comprehensive compilation of researched articles on both sides of the topic on tax breaks. Take some time to read this and click the links to the different articles. It’s worth the time.
HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) has declared its position against vouchers, but supports tax credits as long as it does not induce additional burdens on the homeschooling family. While some homeschooling families feel they are being doubly taxed, since they do not use the public school system and are also paying for their own children’s education at home, tax credits for education seem to be a viable relief to the solution. They also caution to be aware of the type of tax credit your state offers.
Beware of legislation that may seem like an educational tax credit, but is really a “refundable tax credit”. A regular educational tax credit reduces your total tax burden on a dollar for dollar basis, whereas refundable tax credits apply even if you don’t have a tax bill. Refundable tax credits are vouchers in disguise.
It’s not likely that Missouri will see tax credits this year. The bill has stalled since its second read in the House in February. I was unable to reach Representative Holsman to discuss the status of this bill. I will update you should there be further developments.