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Save back-to-school receipts to take advantage of MN tax benefits

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ST. PAUL — For families around the state, back-to-school shopping has become a priority with the fast approaching school year.

According to the Minnesota Department of Revenue, most school supplies could qualify for valuable K-12 tax benefits on parents' 2018 Minnesota income tax return. In order to utilize these K-12 benefits on future tax returns, parents are advised to save the receipts from school supply purchases.

"Each year, parents invest in their children's education by purchasing school supplies," said Cynthia Bauerly, deputy commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Revenue, in a news release. "Keeping receipts for these purchases and claiming the K-12 Education Credit or Subtraction can help parents save money."

Both programs reduce parents' taxes and could provide a larger refund on a 2018 Minnesota income tax return. To qualify, parents must have purchased educational services or required materials during 2018 as an to aid their child's education. The child must also be attending kindergarten through 12th grade at a public, private, or home school and meet other qualifications.

The revenue booth at the upcoming Minnesota State Fair in the Education Building will have special envelopes to help parents keep track of school supply receipts.

Most expenses for educational instruction or materials qualify, including: paper, pens, notebooks, textbooks, rental/purchases of educational equipment (such as musical instruments), computer hardware, 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 should do so in order to claim a refund for the education credit if eligible.

Last year, more than 37,500 families received the K-12 Education Credit, saving them an average of $241. More than 186,000 families received the K-12 Education Subtraction.