Legislative Update: March 8, 2022
by Melanie Elsey – CHEO Legislative Liaison
CHEO sent out information last summer on the tax credit provision of the state budget. We took a neutral position on this policy, because it does not have a potential to bear any negative affect on Ohio’s home education regulations.
The definitions in this new statute – RC 5747.72(A) are limited.
- The “qualifying taxpayer” is someone who is a taxpayer with a dependent who is a qualifying student. This is helpful for clarity because not everyone providing instruction to a home educated student claims that student as a dependent.
- The “qualifying student” is one who is excused from the compulsory attendance law for the purpose of home instruction. This is very specific and would not include 08 students or public e-school at home students.
- The “education expenses” allowed to be used for a tax credit are specific categories (not products that a tax commissioner is permitted to approve): books, supplementary materials, supplies, computer software, applications or subscriptions. Educational expenses not permitted are: computers or similar electronic devices or accessories thereto. What is permitted and not permitted as a claim are finite lists.
The statute allows the tax commissioner to request that the taxpayer claiming the credit provide information to support the claim.There is no language anywhere in Title 57 (Ohio tax code) that gives any level of authority to the tax commissioner to disapprove a specific product if it fits the category (e.g., a textbook purchase). There is no law that creates a state qualified list of products or materials. This credit only describes a specific list of categories of expenses. It will not change a parent’s right to make decisions on products as a consumer.
Parents, who choose to file to receive this credit, may receive a letter from the Ohio Department of Taxation to provide the following information to support the claim for the credit:
- a copy of the excusal letter from the local school superintendent for the year in which the claim is referenced
- Proof that the expense was actually paid by the taxpayer (e.g., Copy of cancelled check or credit card record)
- Proof that the expense was an eligible expense (e.g., copy of a receipt with the expense circled). If the receipt doesn’t describe the expense, the taxpayer will be expected to give a description (e.g., math textbook)
Expenses not permitted to claim this credit are: computer or similar electronic devices or accessories (e.g. internet service provider charges).
Expenses for dependents who were enrolled in a public school and attended remotely due to the pandemic are not eligible for this tax credit. Expenses for dependents who are enrolled in a public e-school or a nonchartered nonpublic (08) school are not eligible for this tax credit.
There have been some conversations that someone claiming a tax credit for materials will invite scrutiny into local co-ops and will somehow cause co-ops to lose their ability to operate independently. There is nothing anywhere in Title 57 to support this assertion. Fees to participate in a co-op are not an eligible expense. The tax commissioner does not have the authority to operate outside of the parameters of this statute. RC 5747.72 is tightly constructed and as presented; CHEO does not agree that it would have a negative effect on home educating families.
We would be glad to answer any questions you may have. Please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.