It’s the time of year when many Minnesota families are back to school shopping.

With a little planning, parents who save receipts for school supply purchases may claim valuable K-12 tax benefits on their state income tax return.

“Every year, parents across Minnesota invest in their children’s education by purchasing school supplies,” said Cynthia Bauerly, revenue department commissioner. “Parents should keep receipts for these purchases and claim the K-12 education credit or subtraction to help save money when it comes time to file taxes.” 

Two tax benefits can help Minnesota families pay expenses related to their child’s education – the refundable K-12 education credit (income limits apply) and the K-12 education subtraction (no income limits).

Last year, more than 33,000 families received the K-12 education credit, saving an average of $244. More than 178,000 families received the education subtraction last year. These programs reduce the tax parents pay and could deliver a larger refund when filing a Minnesota income tax return.

To qualify, the purchases must be for educational services or required materials. The child must be attending Kindergarten through 12th grade at a public, private or home school and meet other qualifications.

Most expenses for educational instruction or materials qualify, including:

• Paper

• Pens and notebooks

• Textbooks

• Rental or purchases of educational equipment such as musical instruments

• Computer hardware and educational software

• After-school tutoring and educational summer camps taught by a qualified instructor

Taxpayers who are not required to file an income tax return must do so in order to claim a refund for any eligible education credit. There are no income limits to qualify for the education subtraction. Most parents qualify.

Parents can claim the K-12 subtraction for tuition paid to private schools or college courses used to satisfy high-school graduation requirements.

For more information, visit the Minnesota Department of Revenue Web site at www.revenue.state.mn.us.