About the Illinois Tax Credit Scholarship Program | Liberty Justice Center

Event: Debating the Illinois tax credit scholarship program

The debate has concluded, but details on how the Tax Credit Scholarship program helps students and how you can take part are below.

Debating the Illinois tax credit scholarship program

Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018
Union League Club of Chicago

This fall, thousands of students across Illinois will be able to attend non-public schools of their choice – thanks to a new initiative called the “Illinois Tax Credit Scholarship” program. Across the state, up to $100 million in scholarships will be awarded to K-12 students from families with low-income. The funding for these scholarships comes from Illinoisans who pay income taxes and choose to redirect part of their state income tax bill to support this effort.

Although many view this program as an important vehicle for improving educational options, there are some who are unsupportive or would like to see it come to an end.

We invite you to join the Liberty Justice Center and Union League Club of Chicago’s Public Affairs Committee for breakfast on Aug. 14 as we host a debate about this important program. This event, which is part of the ULC’s “[email protected]” series, will feature a buffet breakfast and moderated debate.

Speaking in favor of the scholarship program are:

  • State Rep. Tom Morrison of Palatine
  • Kristen McQueary of the Chicago Tribune editorial board

Speaking against the scholarship program are:

  • State Rep. Robert Martwick of Chicago
  • State Rep. David Harris of Arlington Heights

The breakfast is open to all, and tickets are $28 per person. Please bring your civic-minded friends and colleagues! The discussion will be moderated by Chris Robling, and a vote will be taken after the debate.

More about the Tax Credit Scholarship program:

In 2017, Illinois enacted the “Invest In Kids Scholarship Tax Credit Program.” This program funds up to $100 million in scholarships for students from low-income families, while simultaneously offering financial supporters of the program a 75 percent income tax credit for donations made to the scholarship fund. The scholarships can be used to attend qualified, non-public schools in Illinois.

Your presence at this event is important, not only for the vote, but to help raise greater awareness of the critical need for more school choice initiatives in Illinois and signal to the state legislature that this program not only is worth keeping – but one worth expanding.

I can’t attend the breakfast, but I’d like to support this program! How can I do so?

Illinoisans who make donations to “Scholarship Granting Organizations,” or SGOs, will fund the scholarships. In return, donors will receive a state tax credit equal to 75 percent of their donations.

What does this mean for your taxes? Donors to this new program will receive a state tax credit equal to 75 percent of their donation. For example, a person with a $7,500 state tax liability in 2018 can donate $10,000 to the program and receive a credit for 75 percent of the donation ($7,500). The result is that person would then owe zero in Illinois state income taxes, as the credit fully covered their tax liability.

Or someone who donates $1,000 can receive a tax credit of $750. That’s $750 right off your state income tax bill for 2018!

The law allows for up to $100 million scholarships across the state, but most citizens remain unaware of this opportunity. Thousands of kids are still waiting to hear if they will receive the scholarships they need to attend the school that best fits their needs when the school year starts in just a few weeks!

How to donate to the Illinois Tax Credit Scholarship Program

  1. Create an account at https://mytax.illinois.gov a reserve a tax credit in the amount you wish to donate. Tax credits are awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. Donors are automatically approved and provided a “contribution authorization certificate.”
  2. Within 60 days, make a donation to an official state “Scholarship Granting Organization” (SGO). Donations to the tax credit scholarship program must be made through one of the state’s approved SGOs. At this stage, donors are given the option to direct their funds to a specific school or subset of schools.
  3. When making your donation, provide the SGO with a copy of your contribution authorization certificate you were provided with when you created your Illinois Tax account. (SGOs are organizations that are working with the state to award the scholarships.)
  4. When it’s time to file 2018 state income taxes, donors will receive a tax credit for 75 percent of their contribution to the SGO, or whatever amount of credit the Illinois Department of Revenue has authorized for them.

Get started!