The cost of purchasing back-to-school supplies can quickly add up for families, and District 16A Rep. Chris Swedzinski of Ghent is urging 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.

“We all want to save on taxes and this is just one little thing people can do to lessen their burden,” Swedzinski said. “The thing is, tax season is still several months away and it can be easy to forget about education deductions until it is too late. The best thing to do is to save your receipts for back-to-school purchases and file them with the rest of your tax documents now so you will come across them when you need them.”

School supplies which qualify 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 Web site. Additional information regarding which expenses qualify may be found at on the Department of Revenue Web site at

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 to two children, $39,500 for families with three children, and adding $2,000 per child for families with four or more children.

The Department of Revenue indicates 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’s Web site, Swedzinski encourages constituents who have questions to contact him at, or by calling (651) 296-5374.

- Photo courtesy of the Internet Public Domain