New Tax Credit Helps Foster Kid Groups

 

(KFYI News) – Time is running out to take advantage of a new state tax credit that will benefit organizations that help foster children.  You must make a donation by December 31 in order to claim the gift on your 2013 income tax return.

The "foster care charitable organization credit" allows single taxpayers to give up to $400 to any qualifying foster care organization, and married taxpayers filing jointly can give up to $800.  Currently, 12 organizations in Arizona qualify to receive those donations.

For every dollar you give, it reduces the Arizona income tax you owe – or increases your refund – by the same amount.  So in the end, the donation costs you nothing out of pocket.

Tamera Shanker, board chair of the Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation, says the credit was a surprise to her.  "We were notified very quietly by the Arizona Department of Revenue in early November."  She says the tax credit has gotten very little publicity.

But she says it's important.  "It's a tremendous windfall for all of the organizations that qualify." 

In addition, Shanker says, it can send a strong message to the legislature at a time when state officials, and the public, are reeling over revelations that more than 6,000 reports to the state's child abuse hotline went uninvestigated, likely due to a chronic staffing shortage and high workload at Child Protective Services.

One legislative leader was quoted recently in a media report as saying even though CPS caseloads are 77% above the state's standard, and the agency has a high turnover rate, he doesn't believe CPS needs any more money to do its job or deal with its backlogs.

Shanker says Arizonans can "vote with their dollars" by taking money from the state's general fund via the tax credit and giving it directly to organizations that help foster children.

A list of organizations that qualify for your donations resulting in a tax credit can be found on the state Department of Revenue's website: 

http://www.azdor.gov/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=Y4hJIuc1qPA%3d&tabid=133

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