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Tax savings await those who give to scholarship program

 

By Beth Murphy

If you are an Indiana resident and have thought about making a donation to help low- and middle-income students attend Scecina, now is a great time. A program in Indiana called the School Scholarship Tax Credit makes it possible for individuals or businesses that donate to a Scholarship Granting Organization (SGO) to receive tax credits equal to fifty-percent (50%) of the amount donated.

“Any Indiana taxpayer who has a minimum tax liability, and who is interested in helping financially challenged families have the opportunity to provide their students with a quality high school education, should consider the SSTC,” says George Newhart, a certified public accountant and graduate of Scecina‘s Class of 1960.


Jeff Lathrop

“Not only will Scecina get your designated dollars, you as the donor will also receive a tax credit on your Indiana state tax return,” adds Jeff Lathrop, Class of 1996 and also a CPA.

“Scecina will have the opportunity to educate deserving students, who without the SSTC program would not have the opportunity to attend Scecina,” says Newhart.

Rosemary O’Brien, Director of Mission Advancement for Archdiocesan Education Initiatives for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, explains the appeal of the tax benefit for a donor who is contributing to a scholarship.

“With a 50 percent state tax credit and, for example, a 28 percent federal tax deduction,” she said, “a donor can give $1,000 toward scholarships for as little as $360. That double benefit -- making Catholic education an option for all families and creating a substantial tax credit-- is a win-win for all involved.”


George Newhart

Newhart says he personally contributes to Scecina through the SSTC program. “I do use the SSTC to help provide the highest quality high school education to students of families that need financial assistance, to have the opportunity to attend Scecina,” he said. “An added benefit is, of course, the state income tax credit.”

Tim McGinley, Class of 1958 and founder and principal of House Investments, also uses the SSTC when he gives to Scecina.

"First and foremost I believe quality education is the path out of poverty and prepares students for a successful and satisfying life. SSTC provides scholarships to low income students and provides the opportunity for these students to receive the education they need to succeed and break the cycle of poverty," McGinley said. "Also SSTC has a powerful incentive for any donor. The donation results in a 50% tax credit (on the donation amount) on your Indiana income tax liability and a deduction on your federal tax filings. The tax savings to the donor are enormous! And perhaps above all I receive a deep satisfaction from giving someone the opportunity to achieve a better life.

"As a wise man once said 'Don’t give till it hurts, give till it feels good'."

Newhart and Lathrop emphasize that donors must go through the SSTC process in order to receive the tax credit. Scecina Advancement staff will help you with the process. Jim McGuiness, Scecina’ Director of Development and Alumni Relations, is the person to contact for more information. He can be reached at jmcguinness@scecina.org or 317-356.6377 extension 1302.

Part of that process involves Scholarship Granting Organizations (SGO), explains Lathrop. SGOs provide scholarships to income-eligible students to offset tuition costs at partnering schools, such as Scecina.

“Although this tax credit seems like a gift from above,” explains Lathrop, “there is an information form that donors complete to get started. Donors give to the SGO and designate those donations to Scecina at that time. Scecina Advancement staff have graciously offered to review your forms prior to sending to the SGO.”

Once your paperwork is filed with the SGO, both the SGO and Scecina send acknowledgement for your tax records.

Lathrop says a common misconception is that the taxpayer must “owe” on his or her Indiana state tax return to take advantage of the credit.

“However, any Indiana taxpayer can take advantage of the credit if he/she pays income taxes,” Lathrop says. “Remember that federal and state taxes are withheld from your paycheck. This withholding (or income tax payment) qualifies the taxpayer to claim the credit.”

Learn more by attending one of our SSTC information sessions. CPAs George Newhart and Jeff Lathrop will answer your questions on Thursday Sept. 24 or Thursday Oct. 1. Both sessions will be from 5:45-7 p.m. in St. Francis Hall. Click here for more information or to register.

 

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