Tax Credits for Homeschoolers in SC

In a previous post, we talked about tax break hesitancy among homeschoolers. Current legislation for 2021-2022 has a couple bills offering tax breaks again. So, let’s delve into the idea of tax credits for homeschoolers in SC.

Figurine laughing. Tax Breaks for Homeschoolers in SC




Homeschoolers have mixed reactions about tax breaks and deductions. You might think that we would automatically support this. But, there is an undercurrent of distrust for the government. Many homeschoolers feel that money is a lure to impose more oversight on home education.

At the risk of stating an unpopular opinion…I actually do support tax breaks for homeschooling. Here’s why I think this.

 Tax Breaks Affect Personal Funds

First of all, tax breaks are about keeping your own money. You claim a deduction on your tax returns–and you keep more of your own money. We don’t have issues with child credits in general. Just having a child gets certain deductions. You don’t have to prove much else in order to get that write-off.

In order to claim a homeschool credit, the bill says you just have to show proof that you’re registered with an accountability group. It doesn’t have any other hooks in it.

You just get to keep more of your money.




Do Tax Credits Affect School Funding?

The concern is that there’s less money going in the educational funding so that will create backlash for homeschoolers later on. Except that’s not how school funding works.

Yes, we pay taxes and that goes into the general fund. The general fund covers all kinds of infrastructure including education, public health, transportation, commerce, agriculture and more.

There’s not a direct line from your taxes dollars to the education budget. School funding is complex enough to need another post about it (coming soon).

A tax break might affect the general fund–which is why there’s a collective total limit stated in the proposed bill (up to 30 million dollars). The education budget isn’t going to be affected by homeschooler deductions. The general fund will find another way to compensate for the difference.




ESAs Affect School Funding

Something else does affect school funding. That is education vouchers or Education Scholarship Accounts (ESAs). These kinds of programs are about diverting some money from the educational budget. That bill comes with oversight measures about approved spending.

South Carolina does not currently have these kinds of programs available. But, if it were–participation is optional. It would not affect existing homeschool laws (and actually excludes current homeschoolers). Only specific qualifications (low-income and/or special needs families) are eligible to apply.

In other states where ESAs are available, there is a policy manual with the approved programs and curriculum materials. Providers have to apply in order to be included as an approved expenditure.

Similar to the way a medical spending account works. There’s approved expenses to use for that account–and all other expenses come out of pocket.

Supporters of public education oppose this kind of funding because they feel it takes money away from public education. School choice advocates support this kind of funding to help people who are falling thru the cracks in pubic education but cannot afford another option.

Anyway, it does not affect homeschool freedoms.




What about the “Hooks”?

Concerns persist that the government is coming after religious freedoms, especially for Christians.

We have non-profit organizations that are completely tax exempt. I don’t hear anyone warning against being a non-profit group. The oversight is about how the money is spent, not so much about the content of the program.

Churches can still teach whatever they want to and be exempt from paying taxes at all. Then I think that homeschoolers can teach what they want and still get a tax credit. I just don’t see the goverment coming for your Abeka or BJU homeschool books.

We also have state scholarships that are funded by the SC Legislature, distributed by the SC Commission on Higher Education. Those state dollars can be used at any higher instition in SC, including Christian Colleges like Bob Jones and Columbia International University. Higher institutions can accept state dollars, and still include religious teachings like creationism.

So, I believe that if ESA’s ever get approved, there will be religious materials and programs that are acceptable too.  The oversight for an education account is about fraudulent expenses, not about whether it includes religious content.




Let me sum up by saying that it’s all optional. Those who don’t want a tax deduction, don’t have to take it. Anyone who doesn’t want Education Scholarship money, should not apply for it.

Others who *do* want the opportunities for tax breaks or education scholarships, can get them. It doesn’t affect homeschooling rights at all. That’s why I support tax credits for homeschoolers in SC.

What do you think? Let’s discuss it.

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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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  1. […] about strings attached to “government money”–so here’s an article about tax credit concerns. A tax credit is when you get to keep your own money/pay less into the government. The only proof […]

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