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Donor FAQ

What is the Arizona Private Education Tax Credit and how does it work?

At no cost, you can create scholarships for children. The Arizona Private School Tuition Tax Credit Law A.R.S. 43-1089 allows you to give to the Arizona Private School Tuition Organization (APSTO) and receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit against your Arizona income taxes. APSTO then turns your tax credit into tuition scholarships for children attending grades K-12 at qualified private schools in the state of Arizona.

This is a dollar-for-dollar tax credit that offsets the amount of taxes you owe. Unlike tax deductions and exemptions, which reduce the amount of your taxable income, tax credits reduce the amount of taxes you owe:

  • If you owe money for the current tax year, you deduct the amount you donate from what you owe. Example: You owe $3,000 to the state, and you make a tax credit donation of $2,500. You now only owe the state $500.
  • If the state owes you a refund for the current tax year, your refund will be increased by the amount you donate. Example: You are due a refund from the state of $500. You make a tax credit donation of $2,500 and you’ve increased your refund to $3,000.

In other words, you get what you give. The net cost to you is zero, but priceless to a child.

Watch our two-minute video to see how this tax credit works:

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Who can donate?

Any taxpayer with an Arizona state tax liability may receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit against their Arizona tax liability for their donation to APSTO.

Can I donate if I don’t live in Arizona?

You don’t have to live in the state of Arizona to participate. As long as you have an Arizona state tax liability, you can still receive a dollar for-dollar tax credit against your Arizona tax liability when you donate to APSTO.

If you don’t have an Arizona tax liability you may still donate. APSTO is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, meaning that, if a donor itemizes their federal taxes, they may donate and list their contribution as a federal deduction.

Note that, if claiming as a federal deduction, your donation must be made no later than December 31st. For more information go to Charitable Giving on our website.

How much can I donate?

The Arizona Department of Revenue (ADOR) sets annual state caps for individual taxpayers. Please see the ADOR set 2021 maximums below. You may donate up to these amounts or your actual state tax liability, whichever, is less. To contribute to the Switcher (Overflow/PLUS) Tax Credit, you must first maximize your contribution to the Original Tax Credit for the same taxable year. 

Tax Credit Donation Amounts for 2021

Tuition Tax Credits Original Credit
Maximum
Switcher Credit
Maximum
Tuition Credits
Maximum
Married Jointly $1,221 $1,214 $2,435
Individual $611 $608 $1,219

How do I determine my tax liability for the year?

Everyone pays state income taxes unless you are taking a loss or don’t have earned income. Even if receiving a refund, you have paid state income taxes. Your state tax liability is not always what you owe when you file your taxes, but the total amount you’d owe if you didn’t pay taxes throughout the year.

The best way to determine your liability is to talk with your tax advisor. If you don’t have a tax advisor, you can look at your last year’s return. Your liability can be found on Line 48 of your Arizona Form 140 and Line 58 for both your Arizona 140PY (Part Year Resident) and Arizona 140NR (Non-Resident) forms. If your income is the same or similar as the previous year, this will give you a good indication of what your liability will be for this year.

Below is an additional tool you can use to help guide you:

Online Tax Calculator
You can use this free online tax calculator to calculate your tax liability. Please note that this tool has been created, published and is maintained by parties independent of APSTO and we don't perform an ongoing review of the accuracy of the information contained therein.

As long as you stay within the combined maximums provided by the state, $2,435 filing jointly and $1,219 filing single for your donation you can carry forward any unused tax credits for up to an additional five years.

When can I donate?

You may donate any time of the year.

Unlike other tax credit programs, you have until April 15th to make your donation and still claim it for the previous tax year. For donations made between January 1st and April 15th, a donor has the option to claim the tax credit for the previous or current tax year. If claiming for the previous year, donations must be made on or before April 15th.

If you file an extension, your donation still needs to be postmarked or submitted online on or before midnight of April 15th.

How do I donate?

There are three easy ways to donate:

The process is simple and will only take a few minutes, if you have questions or would like assistance, we are always here to help.

Can I make smaller monthly donations to APSTO instead of one larger donation each year?

Yes, you can! We have two options for you below:

  • Monthly Contribution: You can schedule monthly payments through our Donor Portal. For more information you can visit Monthly Contributions  on our site.
  • Payroll Withholdings: Want to donate without affecting your take home pay? Check with your employer to see if this is a benefit they are willing to provide. You can obtain more information regarding this program and the necessary forms by visiting the Withholdings Program on our site.

Will I receive a receipt when I donate?

Yes, comprehensive donation receipts are provided to all APSTO donors.

Depending on how much or how you chose to donate, your receipt may be split into three separate categories for tax purposes. See sample donation receipt.

  1. The Original Tax Credit
  2. The Switcher (Overflow/PLUS) Tax Credit
  3. Charitable Contributions

The third category, Charitable Contributions, will only apply if the donor is:

  • An out-of-state donor who has no Arizona state tax liability but chooses to donate to APSTO.
  • An in-state donor who has no Arizona state tax liability but chooses to donate to APSTO.
  • A donor who does have Arizona state tax liability but chooses to donate more than state set maximums.

If donating online, you will receive a confirmation receipt by email upon completing your donation. Within 3-5 business days you will recieve a formal donation receipt. If you've created an account through our Donor Portal, you will have the ability to print your own receipts. You will be given the opportunity to create a Donor Portal account when you complete your online donation.

If donating by mail, an email receipt will be sent to the address you provide on your donation form. If you would like a copy mailed instead, just let us know.

Note: if you are donating through our Monthly Contributions or Withholdings Program a receipt will be provided in January for the previous year’s contributions.

You may contact us or call anytime 480-256-1001 to request a copy of your donation receipt.

What is a Donor Portal account?

A Donor Portal account is an account you will be given the opportunity to create a when making a donation to APSTO.

The benefits to creating a Donor Portal account with APSTO are:

  • You can print present and past tax receipts for donations made to APSTO.
  • You can schedule monthly payments through our Monthly Contributions Program.
  • you can enroll in our Withholdings Program.
  • You can review your donation history with us.
  • You save time filling out your donor form when making future donations to APSTO.

How do I claim my credit?

The information you need to claim your tax credit is located on the donation receipt provided to you by APSTO. When filing, you can claim your credit for donations made to the Original Tax Credit by using Arizona Form 323. Donations made to the Switcher (Overflow/PLUS) Tax Credit can be claimed using Arizona Form 348These two forms are then summarized on Arizona Form 301 and included with your personal return Arizona Form 140

See sample tax filing

You will need Arizona Schedule A if claiming a federal deduction (charitable gift), APSTO is a charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue code. 

For your convenience, you can find details, instructions and any forms you will need to file for your tax credit on our site at Claim Your Credit. You may also get these same forms at the Arizona Department of Revenue.

How do I claim my credit using TurboTax?

We have created a brochure to help you understand how to claim your credit. Click here for the PDF example.

Will my donation also be eligible for a federal income tax deduction?

APSTO is a charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue code. Please consult your tax advisor for specific advice concerning deductibility for your tax situation.

Can I donate to my own children or “swap” donations with other parents?

Unfortunately, a donor cannot claim a tax credit if the donation benefits their own dependent or they “swap” donations with other parents. The law states, “A taxpayer may not claim a tax credit if the taxpayer agrees to swap donations with another taxpayer to benefit either taxpayer’s own dependent.” A.R.S. 43-1603.

May I recommend a specific student or school to benefit from my donation?

Yes, state law allows individual donors to recommend a specific student(s) or school(s) for tuition scholarships. While state law does not allow APSTO to guarantee an award, recommendations of the donor are an important factor and one of our primary criteria used when awarding scholarships.

Please keep in mind, state law requires certain amounts from each donation to be used for different types of scholarships. It important to understand that not every student is eligible to receive every type of scholarship available. Here is a link: STO at a glance for more information regarding each type of scholarship and the qualifying criteria.

If you don’t identify a student but recommend a specific school, your donation will be used to award scholarships to students at that school with the greatest need. If you don’t recommend a student or school we will make sure the scholarships go where they are most needed.

APSTO always does its best to honor the wishes of donor recommendations. If you have any questions in this regard, please give us a call 480-256-1001.

If my recommendation is honored, when will the student or school receive the funds?

Unlike many tuition organizations, APSTO awards on a monthly basis. We start our monthly cycle on the 1st of each month and funds are typically offered and awarded to the school on behalf of the donor recommendations by the third week of each month. For more information about how this process works, call us at 480-256-1001.

How much of my donation is used to award tuition scholarships?

By law, at least 90% of all contributions must go to award tuition scholarships.

How does APSTO account for the 10% retained?

  • Administrative/operating expenses
  • Banking services
  • Credit card fees
  • Database management
  • Marketing materials
  • Office/supplies
  • Resources for our parents, schools and donors

APSTO always looks for opportunities to award additional scholarships out of our administrative expenses.

Can I contribute to both public and private schools?

Yes, the tax credits for private and public schools are independent from one another.

Are there other tax credits available?

Yes, in addition to both the private and public school tax credits, there are tax credits for qualifying foster care, military families and charitable organizations. As an Arizona taxpayer, you can donate to them all up to your tax liability. For more information on tax credits, please visit the Arizona Department of Revenue website at www.azdor.gov/TaxCredits.aspx.

Can my company match my donation?

Yes, please check with your employer to see if they participate in a Matching Gifts Program. To learn more about this program go to Matching Gifts on our website.

Can my company donate?

For a company to be eligible to donate, they must file their taxes in the state of Arizona as one of the following:

  • C-Corporation
  • S-Corporation or LLC that file as an S-Corporation
  • Insurance Company (that pays premium tax)

Companies cannot recommend specific students but, they can recommend a school or schools of their choosing to benefit from their donation. To learn more about this program visit Corporate Program on our website.

What is APSTO’s EIN number?

47-3027793

Questions? Call 480-256-1001 or email info@APSTO.org

While APSTO deals with the Arizona Private School Tuition Tax Credit Program every day, we are not tax advisors. This is intended to help guide you but not intended to replace official tax advice. if you have questions regarding your tax situation, it is always best to consult with a tax professional.