by Andrew Mark, CPA

While no one likes paying taxes, it can be more palatable when you can designate where the money goes. Arizona offers a number of dollar-for-dollar credits you can take on your income-tax return. It doesn’t matter if you owe money or get a refund; but you must have Arizona taxes to offset the credits. If you’re married and think your tax bill to Arizona will be $2,200 for the year, for example, here’s a way to designate how all of it will be spent.

  1. Public schools. You can donate up to $400 ($200 for singles) to any public or charter school in Arizona for after-school activities. These must be received by the end of the year.
  2. Private school tuition organizations. Give up to $1,000 ($500 single) to a tuition organization that awards scholarships for children in Arizona private schools. Donations can be made up to April 15 of the next year.
  3. Working poor. Donate up to $400 ($200 single) to any Arizona-registered charity that helps the poor (organization must be approved by the Department of Revenue). You must also itemize your deductions on your Arizona form to claim this credit and the charity must receive your money by December 31.
  4. Military family relief. You can contribute $400 ($200 single) to benefit Arizona service members and their families. The assistance goes to those who are deployed or to the families of those injured or killed. The credit is capped at $1 million annually so it’s important to get this money in as early as possible. Any money received after $1 million is reached (usually sometime in December) is returned.

As with all tax advice you should seek confirmation from your own advisor that this will work for you.