Time running out for AZ tax credit donations

Posted at 7:51 PM, Dec 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-31 00:43:17-05

The labeling and boxing is steady year-round at the St. Mary's Food Bank. The giving, not so much.

"As the calendar turns toward January, donations are important to us because we don't get a lot of those this time of the year," said spokesman Jerry Brown.

It's why places like St. Mary's count on the Arizona Charitable Organizations Tax Credit. 

There are four categories that fall under the credit: Qualifying Charitable Organizations, Public and Charter School Tax Credits, School Tuition Organizations and Certified School Tuition Organizations.

A couple can donate a limited amount of money and write it all off on their state taxes. The deadline is Dec. 31.

Many groups, like Phoenix Children's Hospital have launched campaigns asking for your dollars. Public schools like Deer Valley have information posted on their homepages.

"As long as you owed state tax, there's no reason not to do it," said Larry Betts, from Larry B. Betts CPA.

Betts has been preparing tax returns for 30 years. He said you have absolutely nothing to lose.

"You get to direct where you want your donation to go to instead of giving it to the state of Arizona and letting them make the decision for you," said Betts.

Besides it being a dollar for dollar credit on your state taxes, you can also use it as a deduction on your federal taxes if you itemize.

"So in essence, if you are able to have $3,000 worth of state tax, you can take $3,000 worth of state tax credits and you can also deduct that $3,000 as an itemized deduction on your federal. So if you're in the 25 percent tax bracket, that's a $750 tax savings on your federal return," Betts said.

An extension this year pushed the deadline until April 15 for public schools. 

For more information on the maximum amount you can write-off in each category and a list of organizations, go to