Friday, January 24, 2014 | 9 comments

Income Tax Credit for Home-schooling Families

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Libertas Institute supports this bill.

Below is the executive summary for our newly released policy analysis, “Income Tax Credit for Home-schooling Families.” To read the entire report, click here. The resulting legislation is House Bill 77.

The Utah Constitution requires 100% of the state income tax to be used as revenue for government education services—“public” and “higher” education.

Families who choose to educate their children outside of this taxpayer-funded system must therefore pay for the education of others’ children before their own. Curriculum, learning kits, field trips, travel costs, and other necessary expenses are post-tax costs. The state, by imposing an income tax, requires these families to financially prioritize the education of other children first.

To encourage behavior by and minimize the tax burden on select segments of the citizenry, certain tax credits are currently offered by the state. Examples include adopting a special needs child, employing a veteran, or contributing to a medical savings account. We believe that home-schooling families should be added to this list, given the income tax’s direct connection to education funding. If these families do not utilize public schools, their mandate to help fund them should be reduced. These families will still be required to fund the public education system through property and federal taxes; our proposal only addresses the Utah state income tax.

Many parents claim enough deductions and/or credits that leads to their income tax burden being significantly reduced, if not eliminated. Our proposed tax credit would not apply to such situations, as it is a nonrefundable credit—money will not be given to families as a subsidy. If they owe no income tax, then they will receive no benefit. The credit only applies to those who do owe the tax.

These deductions may not always be in place, however. One Utah legislator has proposed eliminating the personal deduction, which would significantly increase the tax burden upon large home-schooling families—thereby making it even more difficult for them to fund their children’s educational needs.

Before helping to pay for the school costs of other children, Utah families should be allowed to meet their own family’s needs, and the current tax structure does not allow for this. Our proposal helps to remedy this imbalance.

Click here to continue reading.


I think you missed a major point, which is that homeschooling families are saving the government tons of money since their children are not a burden on the schools they would otherwise be attending. I think you're already making great points, but if you added the point that we're taking our kids out of the system, and rather than asking for 100% of what it costs to educate a child in the system be refunded, we're only asking for a portion of it, and then only if the family is paying taxes to begin with, we're really being quite generous. 

Kind of makes you wonder why the state isn't encouraging homeschooling like mad, since as it stands they get to keep all the money, whether they're educating the kids or not. But even with the proposed tax credit they'd still be winning every time a family decides to homeschool.


Do you know if property taxes or income taxes pay the majority of support of the local school districts?  I wonder if this shouldn't be a property tax credit, rather than an income tax credit.  

The net effect to the family receiving the credit is the same, but the impact on the State or local district budget could be significant, depending on the line item from which this $500 is to come.  

Any insight on this, Connor?


Seems like a good initial step away from the current socialist system.


Yes but what about those who PAY for private schools ???


@JoshuaSteimle I don't think the state cares about saving money.  Indoctrination by the state is the goal.  Communist manifesto plank #10.

Clint Eagar
Clint Eagar

@Vernon  The issue, as I see it, with a property tax credit is that a lot of homeschoolers such as myself currently rent. This would preclude our family from the income tax credit.


@MichaelStoddard It would be a bad idea for the government to get involved in helping to pay for private schools. A good idea would be to give tax breaks for money spent on private schools. Any time the money touches the government means that the school is now government controlled (public). I don't want our private schools to become public schools. We already have those, they're called charter schools.

That said, this bill is a GREAT first step.

cboyack moderator

@MichaelStoddard Baby steps, unfortunately. Should there be good political support for this, then next year we may propose exactly that.


  1. […] House Bill 77, sponsored by Representative Dave Lifferth, would have provided an income tax credit for homeschooling families. It failed in the House 32-37. We will propose the same bill next year and hope for a more favorable outcome. […]