- Responding to contact from school districts
- Wisconsin laws relating to home-based private educational programs (homeschooling)
- How a bill becomes a law in Wisconsin
- Are there tax breaks for homeschoolers? What about the educator expense deduction?
- Public dollars put Wisconsin homeschooling law at risk
Contacting your representatives
- You are a homeschooler and their constituent.
- Homeschoolers in Wisconsin want to preserve our good homeschooling laws.
- Homeschoolers DO NOT want anything from the State (especially funding and/or to be treated like a special interest).
If WPA member action is required
- The homeschooling laws in Wisconsin are working and you want them to remain as they are.
- As a homeschooler, you do not want any favors from the state.
Are there tax breaks for homeschoolers? What about the educator expense deduction?
The short answer: There are no federal or state income tax breaks for homeschool parents in Wisconsin. Homeschool parents may not claim the educator expense deduction, nor can tax-favored funds from a 529 plan be used to pay expenses for homeschool students.
Homeschooling expenses are not deductible in Wisconsin.
The long answer: The definition of an eligible educator for the purpose of the deduction is found at 26 USC §62(d)(1)(A) which says, “For purposes of subsection (a)(2)(D), the term ‘eligible educator’ means, with respect to any taxable year, an individual who is a kindergarten through grade 12 teacher, instructor, counselor, principal, or aide in a school for at least 900 hours during a school year.”
The definition of school is detailed at 26 USC §62(d)(1)(B), which defines a school as “any school which provides elementary education or secondary education (kindergarten through grade 12), as determined under State law.”
In Wisconsin, homeschooling is legally known as a “home-based private educational program” and is statutorily different than a “school” as defined in federal and state tax code. The authority for statutory adjustments to income (the technical name for above-the-line deductions) is found in the statute at 26 USC §62(a)(2) titled “Certain trade and business deductions of employees.” The deduction was designed and is intended to reimburse paid employees for out-of-pocket expenses, not to serve as a catchall for educators.
We have a unique situation in Wisconsin that homeschoolers in most other states do not have. We have an enormous amount of freedom to homeschool in whatever way works for our family as long as we follow our reasonable homeschool law.
In order to maintain the freedom that Wisconsin homeschoolers have enjoyed since 1984, we must say no to government money and special treatment for homeschoolers that will lead to additional regulation.
- All government favors come with the requirement of accountability. Taxpayers are right to expect accountability for how our tax dollars are spent.
- In order to maintain our current homeschooling law, we must forgo tax credits, educational vouchers, and/or other types of privileged considerations to homeschoolers
- In other states where these types of “benefits” are offered to homeschoolers they come with regulation such as mandatory testing, curriculum approval, special qualifications for homeschooling parents, and/or oversight of homeschoolers by local school districts.
What we have to lose is much greater than what we have to gain.