Parents with tight budgets dread this time of year. They have to find a way to buy school supplies for their children.

But there is help available out there that can ease some of the financial sting.

Parents and caregivers should save the receipts on school supply purchases in order to claim valuable K-12 tax benefits when they file their taxes next year.

“Purchasing school supplies is an investment that nearly every parent or caregiver in Minnesota makes on a yearly basis,” said Minnesota Revenue Commissioner Robert Doty. “Saving receipts from these purchases, including distance learning needs, and claiming the K-12 Education Credit or Subtraction will help save money or increase a refund when it comes time to file taxes.”

Two tax benefits can 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).

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According to the revenue department, these programs reduce the tax parents pay and could deliver a larger refund when filing a Minnesota income tax return. To qualify, the purchases must be for educational services or required materials. The child must be attending kindergarten through 12th grade at a public, private, or home school and meet other qualifications.

Last year, more than 33,000 families received the K-12 Education Credit and saved an average of $250. Nearly 190,000 families received the K-12 Education Subtraction.

Remember to save your receipts to claim the credit or subtraction. Most expenses for educational instruction or materials qualify, including:

  • Paper.

  • Pens and notebooks.

  • Textbooks.

  • Rental or purchases of educational equipment such as musical instruments.

  • Computer hardware (hotspots, modems, and routers) and educational software (up to $200 for the subtraction and $200 for the credit). Fees for internet service do not qualify.

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

Here are the household income limits for the K-12 Education Credit:

Parents with one or two qualifying children in K-12 must have an income that’s less than $37,500.

The income limit for parents with three qualifying children is $39,500.

The income limit for parents with four or more qualifying children starts at $41,500 and increases by $2,000 for each additional child.

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

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

For more information, go to YouTube and search for Minnesota K-12 Education Credit.

And remember to save those receipts!

This other view is the opinion of the editorial board of our sister publication, the Alexandria Echo Press.