Tax Breaks, Funding and Homeschoolers, Oh My!

This time of year, everyone wants to know “do homeschoolers get a tax break?” The short answer is nope.
Whenever this issue comes up here in South Carolina, homeschoolers are divided. Some favor it. Others oppose it.

So, let’s talk about tax breaks.

Tax Breaks, Funding and Homeschoolers. Oh My! Be vigilant. Be informed about education funding for homeschoolers. Disclosure Policy

Let’s talk about terminology.

When we talk about tax breaks, we use a variety of terms. Tax credits, deductions, vouchers and educational savings accounts (ESA’s) are a few terms that come up. None of these funds are current options for South Carolinia homeschoolers.

The Educator Expense Deduction is one that homeschoolers might try to claim. After all, we are educators. Right?

Nope.

In order to claim this deduction, you have to “work at least 900 hours a school year in a school that provides elementary or secondary education, as determined under state law.” (See IRS)

Homeschoolers do not qualify for the educator expense deduction.

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Let’s talk about the pros and cons.

Next time the issue comes up, you’ll see why it’s a debate. It makes sense that we want to keep more of our own money. Doesn’t that seem like something we would all agree about?

Nope.

It  boils down to this: Money equals oversight.

Many homeschoolers are concerned that any time the government expands financial opportunity, there’s bound to be strings attached. Voucher and ESA type programs could allow for homeschools to tap into education funding.  Tax deductions or credits would allow the homeschoolers to keep more of their own money. But, that still means less money going into the education budget.

Either way, homeschoolers anticipate more regulations.

“Academic transparency requirements need to balance individual liberty and accountability to taxpayers for the use of tax money.” (source) Simply put, accountability to fellow taxpayers means requires more academic regulations.

Let’s talk about the bigger issues.

South Carolina has an equity problem in education.  A large segment of students are falling into low academic performance.  Is this equity problem about homeschooling?

Nope.

The poor rural school districts along I-95 are known as the “Corridor of Shame.” In November 2014, the SC Supreme court ruled on a 20-year lawsuit addressing this issue. The General Assembly is mandated to develop a plan by June 2016. “The current system of education funding is a *fractured formula*…and must be remedied, a requirement which now moves the issue into the legislative arena.” (source)

As the legislature moves forward with their remedy plan, homeschoolers should be vigilant. Be informed. Contact your reps to let them know your thoughts about tax breaks and educational funding…for homeschoolers.

What about tax credits for Dual Enrollment


About Kim Andrysczyk

Homeschool veteran, Association Director, coffee addict, sarcasm expert, and accidental blogger. I’m here to encourage you thru the tough times and inspire you toward excellence. If I can make it, so can you!

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