<b>Time's running out on school tax credit program</b>

Now's the time to give serious thought to taking advantage of an Arizona School Tax Credit to benefit Williams school’s extra-curricular activities. Normally you have until December 31 to allocate as much as $200 toward a program you deem worthy of your support.

But because the last two days of December hit on a Saturday and Sunday this year, you actually need to make your decision by Dec. 29. The district office will be open during Christmas break from 9 a.m. until noon.

Here's how it works. If you as a taxpayer owe a total of $1,000 on a joint return in state income taxes, after the $200 contribution to the public school of choice, you only would have to pay the balance of $800.

And if the state owes you a $100 refund and you donate $100, then you will receive a $200 refund.

When making a donation, contributors can specify to which school and extracurricular program they want the money to go. Once a category is specified, the schools can only spend the money on that extra-curricular program, giving taxpayers even more control over where their money is going.

Last year, Williams taxpayers contributed $16,225 through this program. In 1998, local taxpayers added $12,226 in funding to Williams programs by opting for the tax credit.

Just a few weeks ago, this year's contributions were only at $2,250. Hopefully in the coming weeks, that amount will surpass last year's total.

Areas which have benefitted in the past include the band, which received new uniforms and musical equipment. The funds bought new soccer, softball and girls basketball uniforms and equipment. Additional field trips were sponsored, such as trips to the Arizona Science Center, the Renaissance Fair, the Prescott Zoo and plays at NAU.

The technology program got computers and other supplies and the art programs received equipment and supplies. Some funds helped sponsor student clubs and activities such as the spelling bee, Special Olympics, cheerleaders, writing workshops, Academic Decathlon, publications, National Honor Society, gifted education, conservation education, the Future Business Leaders of America and the Drama Club.

Material and supplies also were purchased for the auto shop, welding program, carpentry program and Viking Grill.

If no single program strikes your fancy, the credit can be allotted to one or more areas you choose.

Remember this is a tax credit so your Arizona State Income Tax will be reduced by 100 percent of your contribution.

These credits are limited to $200 per individual or married taxpayers filing joint returns.

Credits are not available to businesses, but employers can set up a payroll deduction plan for individual employees interested in participating so the money can be accumulated in small sums.

Contributions cannot be used for normal school operations such as books, supplies and salaries.

Credits are available for up to $200 tax liability so contributors with liability less than $200 can only get credit up to that amount.

And contributors do not have to have a child enrolled in the school to take the tax credit.

For more information, call the school district office at 635-4473. Or, stop by the administration office, 515 S. Ninth St., for an Arizona School Tax Credit sheet.

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