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Back to school shopping? Saving receipts can mean valuable tax benefits

For many Minnesota families, it is time to start back to school shopping.

The Minnesota Department of Revenue is reminding parents that most school supplies could qualify for valuable K-12 tax benefits on their 2018 Minnesota income tax return. Parents should remember to save the receipts for school supply purchases to claim the tax credit or subtraction.

"Each year, parents invest in their children's education by purchasing school supplies," said Revenue Commissioner Cynthia Bauerly in a news release. "Keeping receipts for these purchases and claiming the K-12 Education Credit or Subtraction can help parents save money during tax time."

There are two tax benefits that help Minnesota families pay expenses related to their child's education: the refundable K-12 Education Credit (income limits apply) and the K-12 Education Subtraction (no income limits).

Both programs reduce the tax parents pay and could provide a larger refund when filing a 2018 Minnesota income tax return. To qualify, parents must have purchased educational services or required materials during 2018 to assist with their child's education. The child must also be attending kindergarten through 12th grade at a public, private, or home school and meet other qualifications.

Save those receipts

Remember to save your receipts to claim the credit or subtraction. You can visit the Revenue booth at the Minnesota State Fair in the Education Building and get special envelopes to keep track of your school supply receipts.

Generally, most expenses paid for educational instruction or materials qualify, including:

• Paper

• Pens and notebooks

• Textbooks

• Rental or purchases of educational equipment such as musical instruments

• Computer hardware and educational software

• After-school tutoring and educational summer camps taught by a qualified instructor

Household Income for the K-12 Education Credit:

Households with one or two qualifying children in K-12 must have an income less than $37,500, those with three qualifying children must have a household income of $39,500 or less, those with four or more qualifying children are allowed $2,000 more for each child in terms of household income.

Taxpayers who are not required to file an income tax return should do so in order to claim a refund for the education credit if eligible.

K-12 Education Subtraction

There are no income limits to qualify for the education subtraction. Most parents qualify for the education subtraction. Parents can claim the K-12 Subtraction for tuition paid to private schools or college courses used to satisfy high school graduation requirements.

Last year, more than 37,500 families received the K-12 Education Credit, saving them an average of $241. Over 186,000 families received the K-12 Education Subtraction.

Check out the video to learn more about the K-12 education tax credit.