Personal Finance: Ask the Experts

Get advice on money matters from The Bee's Claudia Buck and a panel of local experts

November 17, 2012
Are there tax breaks for sending a child to private school?

Q: Both my wife and I have to commute to different areas everyday for work and it makes it impossible for my daughter to go to the public school we are zoned for. We send her to a private elementary school near where my wife works. Is there any tax breaks we can use from having to send our child to a private school because of our work locations?

Thank you for your help,

Jared
Sacramento

A: While there a various federal tax breaks for education, none appear to apply to this situation. The decision to send your child to a private school, as opposed to a public school, is a personal decision as opposed to one that is "ordinary and necessary" to one's trade or business. Expenses that are personal in nature, such as expenses related to the education of your child, are personal and nondeductible.

Even though your decision to send your child to a private school is influenced by your commute to work, that fact does not make otherwise personal expenses deductible. None of the education related credits would apply to private school tuition or related costs unless they are for postsecondary (after high school) education.

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Meet Our Financial Experts

Claudia Buck

Claudia Buck is The Sacramento Bee's personal finance columnist. Read all her columns here. Contact her at cbuck@sacbee.com

Terri Carpenter

Terri Carpenter offers advice on job hunting, retraining and career counseling. Carpenter works at Sacramento Works Inc., the career and job training arm of the Sacramento Employment and Training Agency (SETA). With 15 years in the field, she has hands-on experience with everyone from first-time job seekers to career professionals seeking advice after a layoff or looking for a mid-career change. Ask her a question.

Carlena Tapella

Carlena Tapella is a partner in the law firm of Webb & Tapella Law Corp. in Sacramento. The firm specializes in estate planning and probate, such as estates, trusts, conservatorships and litigation. She is a past president of the Sacramento County Bar Association's Estate Planning & Probate Section. Ask her a question.

Kimberly Foss

Kimberly Foss, certified financial planner, is the founder of Empyrion Wealth Management in Roseville. With nearly 30 years in the financial industry, her clients include women in transition, small business owners, retirees and "pre-retirees." Ask her a question.

Jesse Weller

Gregory Burke, a CPA and tax expert with John Waddell & Co. in Sacramento since 1984, worked as an IRS tax auditor for six years. He’s a past chairman of the California Society of CPAs. Ask him a question.

Daniel Tahara

Daniel Tahara takes your questions about California taxes. Tahara, a spokesman for the state Franchise Tax Board, has 10 years of experience as a tax auditor. Ask him a question.



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