Homeschool IRS Changes Proposed by Vitter (Again)

Who is Senator David Vitter of Louisiana??  Why does he want to change the IRS code and Coverdell education savings accounts to allow home school education expenses, and for other purposes?  Are there Louisiana Homeschoolers lobbying for this?

I’ve been asking this question since June 13, 2008 when I wrote,Home School Opportunities Make Education Sound Act of 2008 and then again onAugust 24, 2008 in Push to change IRS code for homeschoolers continues.  I’m told that without sponsors or even with just a few sponsors,  this is highly unlikely to move forward, yet I’m still perplexed as to why Senator Vitter continues these attempts and who might be behind them.

Anyone have any ideas?

He introduced three more federal bills concerning about changes to the IRS involving  homeschoolers on January 6, 2008.  They are:

1. S.83 : A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to expand the Coverdell education savings accounts to allow home school education expenses, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen Vitter, David [LA] (introduced 1/6/2009)      Cosponsors (None)
Committees: Senate Finance
Latest Major Action: 1/6/2009 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance.

2. S.100 : A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide a tax deduction for itemizers and nonitemizers for expenses relating to home schooling.
Sponsor: Sen Vitter, David [LA] (introduced 1/6/2009)      Cosponsors (None)
Committees: Senate Finance
Latest Major Action: 1/6/20
09 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance.


3. S.101 : A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow expenses relating to all home schools to be qualified education expenses for purposes of a Coverdell education savings account.
Sponsor: Sen Vitter, David [LA] (introduced 1/6/2009)      Cosponsors (None)
Committees: Senate Finance
Latest Major Action: 1/6/2009 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance.

I’d rather home educators  be left out of any federal laws, but especially those that involved $$$$$$s that will most likely be attached to accountability measures, either now or in the future.

H.R.6737 Update, Tax Credits and Celeste Land on Fox News!

I wrote about H.R. 6737 and that the Push to change IRS code for homeschoolers continues back in August. I checked THOMAS and saw that on September 17th, 2008, another sponsor, Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado has signed on in support of the bill.

Who are these sponsors and what is motivating them to have the IRS code changed?  Are there homeschoolers in their districts requesting these tax creedits? If not, why are they including homeschoolers?   I don’t have those answers yet, but I thought I’d see what I could find out about each of them.  I’ve linked each of their names to their bio’s at opencongress.org.  I’m continuing to reseearch them, but  so far all I’ve learned is that they are all republicans, two are from Arizona and two are from Florida.  If you know more about them, please leave a comment.

Here is the federal language again:

H.R.6737
Title: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow individuals with children attending an elementary or secondary school a deduction for each child attending a public school equal to 25 percent of the State’s average per pupil public education spending and, for each child attending a private or home school, a deduction equal to 100 percent of such average.

Sponsor: Rep Hoekstra, Peter [MI-2] (introduced 7/31/2008) Cosponsors (7)
Latest Major Action: 7/31/2008 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.

Coincidentally, Fox News aired an interview this evening about homeschoolers.   I could have done without their “homeschoolers test better than public schooler’s” stats, but Celeste Land of The Organization of VA Homeschoolers aptly pointed out that we are a diverse bunch.  She also stated that we need to focus on protecting the one thing we have in common…. homeschooling.   Dawn Johnson and her three beautiful daughters were also featured.  I’m hoping that Fox will share the interview on their site, but haven’t found it yet. If they do, I’ll come back and add it here.

Homeschooling Surges in U.S. as Parents Reach for Legal Rights
Monday, September 22, 2008 By Shannon Bream

The reporter ended by looking at tax credits for homeschoolers.  She said  that some folks do want tax credits and some don’t want the risk of more accountability that they might bring.  It almost made me wonder if she hadn’t stopped by Dana’s blog this last week?  Dana had announced at her Principled Discovery blog that she would be  interviewing  Dan Lips of the Heritage Foundation about the economic benefits of homeschooling and tax credits for homeschoolers for Home School Talk.  I haven’t listened to the interview yet, but perhaps Mr. Lips will have some insight into why these legislators continue to attempt to amend the IRS law.

Mary

Push to change IRS code for homeschoolers continues

In June, Valerie Bonham Moon wrote about S. 3076 – Home School Opportunities Make Education Sound Act of 2008. It appears at this point that S. 3076 is not going to go anywhere beyond being read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance. However, the idea seems to be alive and moving forward.

I do not know where the push for this IRS amendment is coming from, but it appears someone continues to lobby for the idea as there is another bill asking for an amendment to the IRS that includes homeschool expenses. I was doing my monthly THOMAS check and found, HR 6737 was introduced on July 31, 2008 in the house. Its title is: Education Tax Deduction for All Act of 2008 (Introduced in House)

You will see that homeschooling and private schools are included within the summary of the bill:

Title: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow individuals with children attending an elementary or secondary school a deduction for each child attending a public school equal to 25 percent of the State’s average per pupil public education spending and, for each child attending a private or home school, a deduction equal to 100 percent of such average.

Vitter has not gathered any co-sponsors for S.3076, but this bill, H.R. 6737 sponsored by Rep. Peter Hoekstra of MI, lists the following sponsors, where they are from and when they signed on:

Rep Miller, Jeff [FL-1] – 7/31/2008
Rep Walberg, Timothy [MI-7] – 7/31/2008
Rep Tiberi, Patrick J. [OH-12] – 7/31/2008
Rep Feeney, Tom [FL-24] – 7/31/2008
Rep Shadegg, John B. [AZ-3] – 7/31/2008
Rep Franks, Trent [AZ-2] – 8/1/2008

I have some questions concerning home education being included in this bill.

If they amend the Internal Revenue code of 1986 to the following:

allow individuals with children attending an elementary or secondary school a deduction for each child attending a public school equal to 25 percent of the State’s average per pupil public education spending and, for each child attending a private or home school, a deduction equal to 100 percent of such average.

Will they ask for documentation to prove that the child is in a private school or home school if you choose the deduction?

If so, how would families living in states that do not require documentation of the their private or homeschool be able to participate?

Could such an amendment lead to more control over individual homeschoolers and private schools?

Will this amendment open families and their educational options to more federal control whether they are choosing homeschooling, private schools or even public schools?

Historically, whenever you introduce any topic into law that offers money, tax credits or deductions, there are often strings attached. There are of course many opinions on the subject. Many believe that it is our money they are using and we ought to see some type of return. My concern is always that it may be our money going in, but there is a string firmly in place when it returns.