Tax Credit Helps Schools, And Many Local Charities

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The Christmas season can save the year for many retailers.

But many charities and public schools can also make or break their year, based on the seasonal spirit of giving through the state’s $200 per person tax credit.

The Payson Unified School District and an array of Rim County groups depend on the last-minute rush of donations through the state’s tax credit program, which allows people to donate money to local groups and take $200 per person or $400 for a couple right off their tax bill.

The school district receives more than $100,000 in donations through Credit for Kids annually, which has allowed schools to maintain many after-school and specialized programs despite repeated, severe budget cuts.

In addition, many local charities qualify for the credit. That includes Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona, Payson Area Habitat for Humanity, Payson Christian Clinic, Payson Community Kids, Payson Helping Payson, Payson Lions Charitable Foundation and Time Out Inc.

In the school district, the Credit for Kids money has proved a salvation for everything from the sports program to the drama program.

A partial list of school activities supported by the tax credits include:

Elementary schools: After-school music and fine arts activities plus scholarships for families whose little ones need all-day kindergarten, but can’t afford it;

Payson Center for Success: Field trips for career and cultural exploration;

Rim Country Middle School: Sports, student clubs, programs for gifted and talented students, band, chorus, Jazz Band and after-school field trips;

Payson High School: Sports, band, chorus, drama, art, vocational programs in business, agriculture and other areas, student clubs, after-school field trips, things like the band’s trip to Pearl Harbor the commemoration, Students Against Drunk Driving and other activities;

 Fine arts fund: Contri-butions provide instruments, repairs, after-school art programs and equipment and furnishings for the high school auditorium; and

Stadium project: To replace the existing concession stand and rest rooms at the main football field.

 As a result, many of the extras that keep children in school and form the core of their best memories, now come from donations through Credit for Kids, rather than from state aid. The district would likely have to drop most of those activities without the help from the community.

People can either donate without strings, or earmark their contributions for specific activities.

Those who need help deciding may call the Payson School District Office at (928) 474-2070.

Donations may be made at any school or the district office; the APS drop boxes; or via the Internet at the Payson High School Web site, www.pusd.

k12.az.us/phs to use a credit card and make your Credit for Kids contribution by midnight, Friday, Dec. 31.

The tax credit donations play an equally vital role for many charities as well.

Most qualify through the state’s tax credit program set up to benefit the working poor, a category that has grown with frightening speed in the past several years.

As with other organizations in the Payson area, people who want to contribute to the working poor of our community and receive a tax credit of up to $200 for a single taxpayer and a $400 tax credit for married couples filing jointly on their 2010 state tax returns, must do so by Dec. 31.

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