Public school donations

   Looking for a few more tax deductions that will benefit a worthy cause? Montana taxpayers can now donate up to $150 to innovative educational public school programs and receive a one-for-one tax credit on their annual return.

By Sherry Vogel

   The program was established by Senate Bill 410 which caps the public school tax credit at $3 million. The Montana Department of Revenue (DOR) must preapprove tax credits to make certain the cap has not been reached.

   Jan. 1 of this year, DOR created a website allowing taxpayers to preapprove the tax credit for their donation and to make the donation payment online. The website address is:

   Although taxpayers may donate any amount they wish, the tax credit is capped at $150.

   Taxpayers can choose to donate directly to either the high school or elementary district in the seven largest districts in the state. Donations outside of these areas will go to one of eleven regions and will be divided among all of the schools in that region. District No. 12 (Baker) and District No. 55 (Plevna) are included in Region 10 along with Carter, Custer, Powder River and Rosebud.

   All funds will be distributed to school districts quarterly and will go into the school flexibility fund. The funds can be used for new technology or new instructional programs.

   For more information, go to the FAQ section of the website or contact Ken Bailey at 406-444-2562.