Federal Legislation
January 14, 2009

S. 100—Home School Opportunities Make Education Sound Act of 2009 (HOMES Act)

Action Requested:
No action is requested at this time. HSLDA is monitoring this legislation and will send out updates as the bill moves through Congress.

Background:
The goal of the HOMES Act is to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide an optional tax deduction for parents who choose to homeschool their children. The legislation would help alleviate the financial burden incurred by many homeschooling families by providing a tax deduction of up to $500 per child (with an annual limit of $2,000) for education related expenses, including books, supplies, academic tutoring, special needs services, and computer equipment. Families who do not itemize their tax returns would still be eligible for a similar standard deduction. Furthermore, this legislation would apply to all homeschool programs, including those in states that only have a private school statute.

For years homeschooling families have paid a disproportionately high cost for education related expenses, as parents who homeschool their children fund not only their own educational materials but also continue to finance public education via their tax dollars. Hence, homeschool parents incur an inequitable financial burden in regard to their children’s education. The HOMES Act would help families afford homeschool materials and ensure that homeschool students enjoy similar rights and treatment to students enrolled in public education. If passed, this legislation would be the first time that the federal tax code provided homeschooling families with a tax deduction for homeschool expenses.

This legislation would not create a federal definition of homeschooling. HSLDA strongly opposes any federal definition of homeschooling and will continue to oppose any legislation that seeks to increase government control over education. The HOMES Act is simply a federal tax deduction bill that would create a tax deduction to help relieve the additional financial burden incurred by families who homeschool. This is not a voucher program, but rather a standard tax deduction, just like any other type of federal tax deduction, such as those for business expenses and charitable donations. While the IRS would define what constitutes a homeschool expense, it will not, in any way, create a definition for homeschooling. Hence, this bill would not expand government control over homeschooling, but, on the contrary, give homeschool families an optional opportunity to deduct a portion of their homeschool expenses from their federal income tax.

Introduced: 1/6/09: Introduced and referred to the Senate Committee on Finance

Sponsor: Senator David Vitter (LA)

Bill Summary and Status S.100:

HSLDA's Position:
Support.