Tuition is not tax-deductible in California, as in most states, private school tuition is paid by parents, without significant government support or subsidy. Private school is expensive and generally not tax-deductible. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. Most post-high school education costs may qualify for some type of tax exemption, but elementary and secondary school tuition and expenses don't count. At the federal level, there is no simple tax credit or deduction for K-12 private education expenses.
Most federal education-related tax credits and deductions are geared towards higher education and career-promoting continuing education. But there are other federal programs, such as Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (ESA), that help parents save money on private K-12 education in an indirect way. When it comes to private school tuition, parents can apply for a tax credit if they pay their children's college tuition. Additionally, if the child qualifies, parents may be able to deduct the cost of tutoring or special training, in addition to tuition.
There is help available to cover the costs of private elementary and secondary schools, but it is limited and the rules are complicated. Section 529 savings plans are state programs that have existed for decades to help families save for their children's future college expenses. But recently, the federal government changed the rules so that these plans can be used for K-12 education, such as private school enrollment. Withdrawals made for private school enrollment are tax-free at the federal level. However, states actually oversee 529 plans and parents must separate the cost of care from any tuition they pay if they send their child to a private school. The credit applies to public and private school programs, but you must believe that the public school district is not meeting the student's needs and the student must attend an independent school.
The benefits of using this account to pay for K-12 may vary depending on where you live. It's worth less than 80 percent of the state's annual cost of attending K-12 or the actual cost of schooling children. Whether you qualify for the credit depends on whether you need to place your child in a program before or after school so they can work or look for work. Parents may also be able to deduct the cost of tutoring or special training, in addition to tuition. And states may offer some tax relief in the form of Coverdell or ESA education savings accounts. Using your savings for private school is now easier than ever before, but you should be aware that these state tax exemptions only apply to expenses that the state considers qualified, which may or may not include private school tuition.
Whether your children are already in private school or are considering doing so for the future, you're probably looking for ways to save money.