Your 2013 Tax Deductions
As an incorporated Washington State non profit, donations to the Schmitz Park PTA are tax deductible. This is good news, especially at this time of year when April is fast approaching. However, this does not mean that all funds received by the PTA are tax deductible. For example, your PTA membership is not tax deductible as you get something for your funds ie you get membership into the PTA. The same would be true for a Movie Night event or participating in the After School Enrichment program. Funds that are tax deductible include donations to the One Campaign, Move-a-Thon, and portions of the Auction. Let me describe further.
This is our first call to action of the school year, and the one that best helps the students, teachers, and staff at Schmitz Park Elementary. Our goal is to raise $30,000 in the One Campaign, and yet it only costs of $200 to advertise, leaving over 99% of those donations to help the school directly. All donations to the One Campaign are 100% tax deductible, and are included in the letter that we sent to families. Most of these donations come to us electronically through PayPal, and are easy to track.
This is fun Fall event where we get the kids outside running laps and raising funds. The classes that earned the most also got a popsicle party, which is often all the incentive elementary school students need (I’m not sure I like this sentence). Several area businesses sponsor this event, and the kids wear their shirts with pride throughout the year. Like the One Campaign, 100% of your donations are tax deductible, and are included in the letter we sent to families. Unlike the One Campaign, very few of these donations come electronically. We have a committee of dedicated parents who count up all the loose change, checks, and IOUs and report the totals to the PTA. Please note that IOUs are unfortunately not tax deductible. The Feds are sticklers about that.
Each year, roughly 20% of the Schmitz Park community gathers for a fun filled evening of merriment and running up their credit cards to support our children. We run this event through a separate financial program designed to be used with auctions. Each attendee receives an email after the auction detailing out the amount of money donated, and how much is deductible. This can be quite challenging to calculate. The admission ticket is not deductible, as you get dinner and entertainment for those dollars. Additionally, money spend on drinks, LED Martini glasses, and raffles is also not deductible, as you “get something” for those purchases.When you participate in Raise the Paddle or the desert dash, those are considered “donations” and fully deductible.
If you were lucky enough to win an item, only the amount you paid above the value of the gift is deductible. Let’s say you purchased a brand new copy of Microsoft Office, retail value $250, for $75. That is a great deal! Of course, the $75 does go to help the PTA, but is not considered tax deductible. Had you run up that auction to $350, though, then the extra $100 would be deductible. Do you see how that works? Our auction software calculates this number for us, and sends the details to the attendees directly. This information is not included in the letter we sent. Therefore, if you were one of the 20% attending the auction, who also donated to the One Campaign / Move-a-thon, you will have two notices from the Schmitz Park PTA.
A few final thoughts
We don’t yet have a system where we know who is married to whom, who is filing their taxes jointly, etc. If you and your partner each made donations to the school, it is possible that you will be receiving two letters from us.
I hope this helps clarify what is, and isn’t, included in the tax letters you received. If you have any questions, please email our Vice President, Joe Turcotte.