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.

Comments

One Response to “Push to change IRS code for homeschoolers continues”

  1. Carol Topp, CPA on August 29th, 2008 8:01 am

    Mary, you pose many excellent questions. As a tax preparer, I already gather a lot of data from my clients and get into their personal lives much more than I want to intrude. For a bill like this, I would need documentation on the legality of homeschooling (ie notification forms). The bill is ripe for abuse and so the IRS would audit returns in a heartbeat. My clients get upset over a paper audit of the charitable contributions when they have documentation; can you imagine what this would bring?

    And what if the family doesn’t spend as much as the public school does (most of us don’t), do I then have to total their expenses, get receipts and only deduct up to their total expenses? What a mess.

    The refund rates of 25% for EVERY public school child would bankrupt the country. No wonder it doesn’t have much support. Someone’s not doing the math…

    Carol Topp, CPA
    http://www.HomeschoolCPA.com

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