Frequently asked tax credit questions
What is a tax credit?
A tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in the actual tax owed. For example, if you owe $800 in state income taxes and you donate $400 to a public school for extracurricular activities, you may subtract the $400 from your tax bill and pay the state just $400. Please note: ECA donations are not refundable.
What is an extracurricular activity?
Extracurricular activity means any optional, noncredit educational or recreational activity that supplements the education program of the school. Activities such as sports, visual and performing arts, special programs, character building, field trips, clubs, outdoor education, gifted programs or classroom enrichment programs can be funded with tax credit money.
Extracurricular activities help children develop qualities such as leadership, team play and cooperation. They also provide safe, supervised activities after school hours.
What other support areas are eligible?
Beginning in 2015, additional support areas include:
- standardized testing fees for college credit or readiness, such as PSAT, SAT, ACT, AP and IB tests
- career and technical education industry certification assessment
- preparation courses and materials for standardized testing
Who is eligible to contribute?
This tax credit is available to all individual Arizona taxpayers whether they have children in school or not. An individual can contribute and receive a tax credit for any amount up to $200, or a couple filing jointly may contribute up to $400.
Does all of my money go to student activities?
Yes, 100 percent of your donation goes directly to the schools to benefit students through extracurricular activities, character education or standardized testing as outlined in state statute. None of the money is used for overhead.
May I designate where I want my money to go?
Yes, you may say where you want your donation to go. If you have a child in school, you may donate to an activity in which he or she participates or use it to pay standardized testing fees. You may choose a school based on student poverty, type of activity, grade levels or location. You may choose a school where not all parents can afford to contribute.
We will make every effort to ensure that your donation is used for the purpose you specify. However, in the unlikely event that an activity is cancelled or receives more funding than is needed, the school will use your donation for another worthwhile purpose that directly benefits students. If no designation is listed, the School Improvement Advisory Council will determine the extracurricular activity or other approved purpose of greatest benefit. Be assured that your donation will not fund recreational, amusement or tourist side trips.
Do I have to donate the full $200 or $400?
No, you may donate up to your $200 or $400 limit in installments during the calendar year or donate it at one time. Any individual who pays Arizona State income tax can donate; you do not need to live in the Mesa Public Schools boundaries.
How can I make a contribution?
Tax Credit Contribution Form: Print the contribution form and mail it to the address listed on the form.
If you have questions regarding your tax credit donation, please call 480-472-0133.
Drop off a completed contribution form, including your credit card information or your check, at the Mesa Public Schools dropbox, located on the first floor of the First Fidelity Bank Building, 63 E. Main Street, between Mesa Drive and Country Club Drive, just east of the Mesa Arts Center.
Offices are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays