Many back-to-school expenses eligible for state income tax deductions

BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Department of Revenue encourages families to retain their receipts while shopping for back-to-school items such as books, uniforms, supplies, and equipment required by schools. Many families will buy these items during the state’s annual sales tax holiday August 1 and 2, when most retail purchases are exempt from the 4 percent state sales tax. But they might not know these expenses may qualify also for a series of income tax deductions on their state individual income tax returns.

And these deductions apply to eligible expenses paid throughout the tax year, not only during the two-day sales tax holiday.

There are three income tax breaks under the Louisiana School Tuition and Expense Deductions:

Income Tax Deduction for Elementary and Secondary School Tuition - Allows an income tax deduction for amounts paid during the year for tuition and fees at a qualifying nonpublic elementary or secondary school. The deduction is for 100 percent of qualified expenses paid per dependent, limited to $5,000 per dependent.

Income Tax Deduction for a Quality Public Education – Allows an income tax deduction for the following expenses for a dependent enrolled in a public elementary or secondary school:

  • Purchases of school uniforms required by schools for general day-to-day use
  • Purchases of textbooks, curricula or other instructional materials required by schools
  • Purchases of school supplies required by schools

The deduction is for 50 percent of qualified expenses paid per dependent, limited to $5,000 per dependent.

Income Tax Deduction for Home-Schooling Expenses – Allows an income tax deduction for amounts paid for the purchase of textbook and curricula necessary for home-schooling. The deduction is for 50 percent of qualified expenses paid per dependent, limited to $5,000 per dependent.

These deductions can reduce your taxable income when you file your 2014 Louisiana Individual Income Tax Return by May 15, 2015. To qualify, you must be able to claim the student as a dependent on your state individual income tax return, and you must be able to document the expenses.

Visit www.revenue.louisiana.gov/schooldeduction for a full explanation of the provisions of the Louisiana School Tuition and Expense Deductions.

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IRS tax assistance available in Louisiana Saturday, Feb. 20

Internal Revenue Service offices will be open for special taxpayer assistance on Saturday, February 20, in Baton Rouge, Shreveport and New Orleans.  IRS tax officers will be available to answer questions on a variety of topics, including tax deductions and credits that can put more money into people’s hands this year.

“There are many tax credits and deductions that may help individuals struggling in tough economic times to save money on their taxes this year,” said Dee Harris Stepter, IRS spokesperson for Louisiana.  “For example, this year many people will qualify for Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)for the first time because their incomes declined, their marital status changed or because of credit expansions to help people as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  Under the act, taxpayers with three or more children get an extra boost with a larger credit this year.”

Locations:

  • Shreveport – 3007 Knight Street
  • New Orleans – 1555 Poydras Street
  • Baton Rouge- 2600 Citiplace Centre

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