Arizona credits charity donations, dollar for dollar

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For foster care organizations, donations of $500 for a single person, or $1,000 for a couple, are allowed. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) For foster care organizations, donations of $500 for a single person, or $1,000 for a couple, are allowed. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
The donated money will be used to buy equipment for those in need. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) The donated money will be used to buy equipment for those in need. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Arizona taxpayers can guide a big chunk of their state tax dollars toward charitable donations they support.

The Arizona Charitable Tax Credit expanded this year, allowing taxpayers to get even more dollar-for-dollar credit for nonprofit donations.

"It's good for anyone who pays Arizona taxes. It's particularly good if you want the state to donate to those organizations. You're directing where your tax dollars are going," CPA Tom Wheelwright, the CEO of ProVision, explained.

Simply make a donation to a qualifying charity and note it on your tax returns.

For foster care organizations, donations of $500 for a single person, or $1,000 for a couple, are allowed.

Donations to organizations working with the poor are capped at $400 for single people, or $800 for a couple.

Donations to military organizations are capped at $200 for single people and $400 for a couple.

For private school tuition donations, a single person can donate $1,000, while a couple can donate  $2,000.

Public school donations, which go to extracurricular activities, are credited at $200 for a single person, or $400 for a couple.

"I'd rather spend my money on kids in foster care, than blindly put it into the state coffers," Kris Jacober of the Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation said.

Through the tax credit program, the number of "awards" given to children in foster homes, including trips to Disney, swim lessons, music lessons and much more, has increased from 2,400 in 2014, to 3,800 in 2015, and to more than 5,000 in 2016.

"This tax credit changed our lives. It allowed us to say 'yes' to every child who came to us," Jacober said.

"It's a great opportunity for us to make up for a funding shortfall from the state this year," Travis Shumake, a board member at One-n-Ten, said.

The organization, which works with LGBT youth, also has a donor willing to match $20,000 in tax credit donations submitted by Dec. 31.

"For us, $800 is two kids going to a summer camp, four months of our online school program or even a month of housing," Shumake said.

One-n-Ten received $26,000 last year and hopes to double donations through the tax credit program this year.

The Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development, which serves homeless and struggling youth ages 12 to 25, raised $70,000 last year through the program.

"It's meant a tremendous percentage of our revenue, to allow us to continue these programs and fund critical services for youth," Mariah Secrest-Comer said. "It goes to meals, laundry services, case management, counseling and permanent or temporary housing."

In addition to the state credit, you'll also get a deduction on your federal return.

"From a personal financial reason, there's no reason not to do this. It's basically free," Wheelwright said.

The Military Family Relief Fund's website says it reached its $1 million donation cap for 2016.

For Public School Tax Credit options, visit


Copyright 2016 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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Jared DillinghamJared anchors the weekend newscasts at 5, 6, 9 and 10pm on both 3TV and CBS5. He also reports during the week for both stations.

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