Back-to-school supplies can equal tax credit

Published 8:14 pm Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The cost of purchasing back-to-school supplies can quickly add up for families.

According to a press release, Rep. Peggy Bennett, R-Albert Lea, urged people to save receipts and take advantage of tax benefits that can provide some relief.

Minnesota has both a credit and a subtraction for education expenses. Both programs reduce the tax parents pay and could provide a larger refund when filing state income tax returns for 2018. Qualifications apply, and expenses must be for children attending kindergarten through 12th grade at a public, private or home- school.

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“As a former teacher, I understand how school supply lists, instrument rentals and educational software can be expensive for a family, especially those with multiple children,” Bennett said. “One way to lessen this burden is for parents to take advantage of these important tax benefits through the state. If anyone has questions about the education tax benefits, I’d encourage them to contact my office; I’m happy to help.”

School supplies thatqualify for the credit or subtraction include writing utensils, textbooks, musical instrument rentals, tutoring and computer hardware/educational software. Common items that do not qualify for the subtraction or credit include school lunches, uniforms and backpacks. Parents are encouraged to check the Department of Revenue website  at to determine which expenses qualify.

While the education subtraction is not subject to income limits, the credit is limited to households with incomes less than $37,500 for families with one or two children, $39,500 for families with three children, and $2,000 id added per child for families with four or more children. The Department of Revenue said that last year more than 37,500 families took advantage of the education credit, saving an average of $241. More than 186,000 families took advantage of the education subtraction.

In addition to visiting the Department of Revenue’s website, Bennett encouraged constituents who have questions about the credit or subtraction to contact her at or 651-296-8216.