My first thought after seeing this was whether parents who use private schools get tax writeoffs. I don’t think so, but it isn’t something that I’ve looked into. If the trend in the whole ‘choice’ matter concerning schooling is that anyone who pays anything for a child’s education, then relief from the alleged ‘double taxation’ should apply across the board to all people who pay for any child’s education. Support for a homeschoolers-only deduction looks self-centered.
I see that the sponsor, Senator David Vitter of Louisiana, says that parents who pay for private school for their children get a deduction.
“Like those who choose to send their children to private schools, home school families pay an inequitable share of education-related expenses,” said Vitter. “Even as they pay for expenditures related to home school activities, they fund public schools through their tax dollars. We need to provide them with the same relief offered to private school families, and this bill is intended to do just that, by minimizing the financial burden of these families.”
In a quick search for private school tuition deductions, I didn’t see anything saying that was the current practice.
- Tax Deduction FAQs: “The tuition [for parochial school] is neither deductible as an educational expense nor as a charitable contribution, and there are no tax credits for the tuition.”
- Tax Deduction for Private School – Questions from Readers: “Education Expenses are tax-deductible, but only for college tuition and fees.”
Given that this legislation would break new ground — tax deductions for non-college education — I would guess that the IRS would be obliged to determine what constitutes a legitimate expense, and that could possibly come to define what constitutes legitimate homeschooling. We all know how stuff like this rolls downhill (see the comments by the Washington, D.C. state superintendent about compulsory education and ‘allowing’ parents to choose homeschooling).
A refresher about homeschoolers and tax breaks (“credits” were the hot topic in 1998) is at:
How Do Tax Credits Work?
Why Do Governments Offer Tax Credits?
Why Are Tax Credits for Educational Expenses Being Promoted?
Why Are Homeschools Being Included in Proposed Tax Credits for Education?
How Would Tax Credits for Homeschooling Expenses Affect Homeschoolers?
Could Tax Credits Be Made Safe For Homeschoolers By Including Provisions that Prevent Increased Regulation of Homeschools?