[The Autism Society of North Carolina now has a comprehensive fact sheet on HB 344 Education Tax Credit for Children with Disabilities on its website here.]
Thursday June 30th 2011 House Bill 344 Tax Credits for Children with Disabilities became law in North Carolina. Starting this year, families will be able to claim a tax credit for moving their child with a disability from a public school to a private school or home school setting. The Autism Society of North Carolina (ASNC) is already getting a lot of questions about the tax credit, how it will work and who will qualify. If you have questions that are not answered in the post below, please add them in the comments or contact Jennifer Mahan, Director of Government Relations at ASNC, at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Tax Credits for Children with Disabilities gives a $6,000 tax credit ($3,000 per semester) to families whose child with a disability moves from a public school to attending a private school or home school. To qualify for the credit, children must have been in a public school the previous two semesters or if in pre-school have been receiving special education services through the public school, have an individual education plan and have been receiving special education or related services on a daily basis. Children must be re-evaluated by the public schools every three years to continue to qualify for the credit. Children may qualify through high school, up to the age of 22; the credit does not count for college education.
In a unique arrangement, the legislation also establishes a special needs trust fund to be administered by the NC Department of Education to supplement funding for special education services in the public schools. Since the amount of the tax credit is less than the average cost of educating a child with a disability in public schools, the tax credit saves the state of North Carolina money. Part of these savings will be retained by the special needs trust, part will go back to the state of NC’s general fund and part will be used to fund the tax credit.
Because private schools are not required by law to provide educational services to children with disabilities, we urge parents to select private schools carefully. Make sure they understand your child’s unique needs and a ready to provide the support for them to be successful. Some private schools are already working with children on the spectrum. Check with other parents to see what their experiences have been like.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: When can I start to claim this tax credit?
A: If the child moves to private school this fall semester, taxpayers can start to claim a one semester tax credit, the cost of tuition and/or special education related services up to $3,000, when they do their 2011 taxes next year. In years following, the taxpayer can claim a credit based on the number of semesters the child attends private school in that tax year.
Q: Is the tax credit for any services for my child with a disability?
A: The tax credit is for education purposes; private school tuition costs and related educational services. It’s not a general child with a disability credit.
Q: Can I claim this credit on my taxes if my child is already in a private school or being home schooled?
A: Currently, to initially qualify for the credit, the child must have been in a public school for the previous two semesters.
Q: Is there a list of schools where the tuition is close to the$ 6,000 credit?
A: Since the law just passed, we have not yet seen a list of schools where tuition is near $6,000. As we get this information, ASNC will do our best to share it with families.
Q: If another person, like a grandparent, is paying for my child’s tuition, can they claim the credit?
A: The person who claims the child as a dependent on their taxes must be the one to claim the tax credit.
Note: Please be sure to check with a tax professional if you have questions about the use of this or any other tax credit.Tags: Autism spectrum, Developmental disability, home school, legislation, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, private school, public policy, public school, special education, tax credit