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The state Tax Commission has outlined its proposed rules for the state’s new private school and homeschool tax credits, and the public has until Oct. 12 to comment.

The program is a key part of Gov. Kevin Stitt’s and the Legislature’s education package approved this year. It provides refundable tax credits of $5,000 to $7,500 per student enrolled in private school, depending on their family’s income, or $1,000 per student to families who homeschool.

Cost of the program is capped at $150 million in 2024, $200 million in 2025 and $250 million in 2026 and beyond.

According to agency rules proposed by the Tax Commission, taxpayers will apply for credits in a process completely separate from filing income taxes. The rules state taxpayers can’t claim this credit on their income tax return.

The agency wants priority applications, for families in the lowest income bracket earning less than $150,000 per year, to be submitted between Dec. 8 and Jan. 22, 2024 for the first year. In subsequent years, those families must submit between Dec. 1 and Jan. 15 to be prioritized.

Then, the commission would process all other applications in the order received until the cap is met.

Another process outlined in the rules is how taxpayers would receive the funds. Under the proposal, the Tax Commission will issue a check to the taxpayer but mail it to the private school where the student is enrolled or expected to enroll. The parent is expected to endorse the check so the school can deposit it into its account unless tuition and fees have already been paid.

It doesn’t specify what happens if a family owes less in tuition than the check amount. Schools are required to submit an affidavit that includes the amount of tuition and fees to be charged during the tax year. But a tax year is two halves of a school year, and most parents make decisions about which schools their children will attend in the summer.

All of the proposed rules for the program are available on the Tax Commission website. The deadline to submit written comments by email is Oct. 12 at 4:30 p.m.

Comments, questions, story ideas? Reach out via email or direct message.

— Jennifer Palmer

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