June 22, 2005

House Bill 834: Tax Credit for Educational Expenses

Representative John LaBruzzo

While House Bill 834 has been withdrawn by the sponsor, Representative LaBruzzo, he has vowed to reintroduce this bill to help lift the tax burden on parents who are teaching their children at home. Representative LaBruzzo withdrew the bill to amend it to only apply to homeschool families due to the large fiscal impact of the original bill. With the revised bill Representative LaBruzzo hopes to find majority support among the House Ways & Means Committee members.

House Bill 834 would have provideds a tax credit for families who are teaching their children at home or have enrolled them in a private school. The available tax credit would be based upon income and would range from $800 to $300 per child. This credit could have been taken to reduce the amount you owe to zero and could even be used to offset the next year?s tax. However, you would not have been able to obtain a refund if the tax credit you could claim was greater than the tax owed.

HSLDA's Position:
HSLDA supported this bill.

Action Requested:
None at this time.

04/14/2005Under the rules, provisionally referred to the House Committee on Education.
05/05/05Read by title and referred to the House Committee on Education.


Homeschoolers currently pay for the public education system while they privately educate their own children. This "double taxation" is unfair. While almost all homeschoolers would like to be free of the tax burden of public schools they do not use themselves, a significant number of homeschool leaders are concerned about any effort to obtain benefits from the government. Most homeschool leaders agree that vouchers (direct payments from the government to private or homeschools) are unacceptable because of the controls and loss of freedom that comes with the money.

As an alternative, HSLDA recommends another vehicle: educational tax credits. Parents and individuals who provide for a child's education should be allowed to keep some of their tax money that would otherwise have been used to fund public education. This goal could be accomplished through a tax credit.

Educational tax credit legislation can typically be divided into two categories: tax credits for individuals or corporations who contribute to a non-profit scholarship fund and tax credits reimbursing parents for educational expenses incurred for their children. Arizona passed an educational tax credit law which falls into the first category while Minnesota and Illinois passed a tax credit falling into the second category.

Education tax credits offer several benefits:

  • Educational tax credits will give parents true choice in education - This tax credit will help reduce the "double tax burden" on parents who choose private or home education.
  • Education tax credits will benefit public schools - By encouraging students to attend private schools or homeschools, the tuition tax credit will reduce overcrowded public school class sizes and the student-to-teacher ratio, making more teachers available to public school students.
  • Education tax credits will benefit low-income families - Most educational tax credit proposals provide a credit for businesses and private individuals who contribute to a nonprofit scholarship fund, which are usually dedicated to helping low-income families. This type of credit provides an incentive to help give low-income families true choice in their children's education.

For more information on educational tax credits, see our memorandum at http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000010/200308190.asp

 Other Resources

Why Are Educational Tax Credits Important?

Bill Text   (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Bill History