Homeschooling moms and dads frequently ask if there is any tax benefit or rewards for homeschooling. Surely, if a family chooses not to utilize local schools (i.e., taxpayer resources) and overall doesn’t cost the city anything per student, there should be a rebate, right?
In fact, the answer is no. Homeschoolers do not receive credit for opting-out of government schooling and choosing to go it alone. Contrary to what you might think, books and supplies for homeschooling are not tax deductible. Neither are private lessons, tuition for classes your child might attend, home office kinds of deductions, travel to and from kid’s activities, or anything else related to the home education program.*
As disappointing as this may sound, when you think about it, this is probably a very good thing. If you have ever completed your own return and read the instructions that determined your eligibility for any other credit, no doubt you’ll understand.
In order for a family to receive a tax benefit, there would need to be some a universal definition of homeshooling. And, in order for there to be a universal definition of homeschooling, there would need to be a list of guidelines that families must meet in order to qualify. Whether such guidelines included curriculum, test scores or anything else, criteria of this kind would undermine the freedoms that homeschoolers have fought so hard to protect.
Note that homeschooling is different from attending a private school at home, being enrolled as a college student while homeschooling, and attending a public school only part time. For these and all other questions about taxes and education, it is best to visit the IRS online and/or find a qualified tax advisor who can explain the particulars.
* It is purported that a couple of states now have laws permitting certain kinds of school-related deductions. Best to check with a certified tax accountant before believing what you hear, just to be sure.