Frequently Asked Questions

Individual Taxpayer Support:

Why should I support the JTO?

You will be helping families, children and our Jewish day schools all at the same time – and it won’t cost you a dime! More than 90 percent of JTO funds go to Jewish day school scholarships.

How can I support the JTO?

Based on your Arizona state tax liability for tax year 2018 you can take a dollar-for-dollar tax credit up to $1,107 for an individual and $2,213 for couples filing joint returns.

In tax year 2019, you can take the dollar-for- dollar tax credit up to $1,135 for an individual and $2,269 for couples filing joint returns. 

When can I take the credit for 2018?

Up until April 15, 2019 or when you file your taxes, whichever comes first.

When can I take the credit for 2019?

You can provide your 2019 tax credit support starting January 1, 2019 through April 15, 2020.

How much should I give?

There is no minimum amount. For tax year 2018, you can receive a tax credit for your entire tax liability, up to $1,107 for individuals or $2,213 for couples filing joint returns. In tax year 2019 the amounts will be $1,135 for individuals and $2,269 for couples filing joint returns.  Corporations can give more and receive a larger tax credit. Call our office for details 480-634-4926.

Is it possible to provide my support through payroll deductions? 

Yes, if your employer offers its employees this service. Call the JTO and we will provide you with the information your employer will need. Most payroll deductions are done on a calendar year, so the deductions from January 1, 2019 through December 31, 2019 will be for the 2019 tax credit. Payroll deductions MUST be made directly to the JTO by your employer, they cannot go through a third party.

Who can take the credit?

All Arizona tax payers!

Do I have to fill out a form to provide support?

Yes, we are required by Arizona law to obtain certain information when we are given support.

What if I don’t have an Arizona state tax liability?

You can still support the JTO and there is not a maximum. The JTO is a registered 501(c)(3) and all donations are tax-deductible to the extent of the law.

Will I receive documentation for my taxes?

YES. The JTO will mail you a detailed tax credit receipt.

Can I take other state tax credits?

YES! You can take the Qualified Charitable Organization Tax Credit, the Public School Tax Credit, the Qualified Foster Care Charitable Organization Tax Credit and the Veterans Tax Credit. Visit www.azdor.gov for more information on tax credits.

Does the tax credit apply to federal taxes?

You need to consult your tax professional for questions about federal taxes, or questions pertaining to your specific situation.

Who gets JTO scholarships?

Students at our six affiliated Jewish day schools in greater Phoenix may receive JTO scholarships. For need-based scholarships, family income is verified by a third-party vendor.

The JTO at one time did not accept recommendations, I understand now it does. Can you explain why the change?

Yes, due to community demand the JTO board voted to expand our program and accept recommended support effective November 16, 2018. Prior to that the JTO only provided need-based scholarships. As one of only a few student tuition organizations (STO) that did not accept recommendations, the pressure was on us to make this change. The JTO historically awards a greater percentage of the money it raises through scholarships than other STOs and this will enable us to give even more. The state allows an STO to keep 10 percent of the money it raises through the tax credit program for its overhead; the JTO maintains a limited budget and usually gives away more than the allowed 90 percent. It is in our students’, schools’ and supporters’ best interests to expand the scholarship program and accept recommendations. Our supporters can still give to the general fund that provides only need-based scholarships; but they can now also decide to support a particular school or student. A minimum of 20 percent of all support goes to the general fund for need-based scholarships. Swapping and supporting your own child or dependent are not allowed by law.

Are recommended funds guaranteed?

According to Arizona law, recommended funds cannot be guaranteed. The reason is that scholarships cannot be awarded based on recommendation alone; there must be additional criteria. Per the law, funds are distributed at the complete and sole discretion of the STO, in this case the JTO. All STOs by law must include the following notice on all materials: A school tuition organization cannot award, restrict or reserve scholarships solely on the basis of donor recommendation. A taxpayer may not claim the credit if the taxpayer agrees to swap donations with another taxpayer to benefit either taxpayer’s own dependent.

Can I recommend my own child, or swap recommendations with another family?

No. It is illegal to recommend your own child, or swap recommendations. The law specifically states that a parent or guardian cannot recommend their own dependent(s), or agree to swap donations with another taxpayer to benefit either taxpayer’s own dependent.

Can I recommend more than one student or school?

If you want to divide your support for more than one student or school, you will need to call the JTO office and staff will be happy to help you.  

The JTO expanded its scholarship program to include recommendations effective November 16, 2018. If I sent the JTO my support on or after November 16 without making a recommendation, can I change that and now make a recommendation?

Yes, you may call the JTO office and make a recommendation. The JTO staff will be happy to help you.

Corporate Support:

Can my business support the JTO?

YES! All C corporations, S corporations and LLCs that file as S corporations can take the credit if they do not pass their liability through to their shareholders or partners.  Insurance companies can also take the credit.  Matching grants and JTO payroll deductions can be set up, as well. Call 480-634-4926 for details.

Can my business give recommended funds?

All corporate support provides need-based scholarships and cannot be used for student recommendations. However, corporate funds can be recommended for a school fund, but will still go to provide need-based scholarships for students attending that school.

Applicants:

What types of scholarships are available?

The JTO offers two types of scholarships, need-based and recommended.

Need-based is designed to help students whose families cannot afford the tuition and each family applying must meet certain criteria assessed by a third-party vendor named TADS.

Recommended scholarships are funded by supporters who request that a particular student or school benefit from the funds they provide to the JTO. By law, recommendation cannot be the only criteria. Parents/guardians have the ability to raise recommended funds for their dependents by networking their friends, relatives and other resources.  You cannot recommend your own child, or swap recommendations with another taxpayer for either of your own dependents.

What does it cost to apply?

If you are applying for a need-based scholarship you must apply through TADS.com and there is a $34 application fee. If you are unable to afford the application fee, please call the JTO.

Should your child receive recommended funds, you will still need to apply by using the simple application located on the JTO website. There is not a cost to apply for recommended funds. The law requires that an application is submitted for any scholarship award.

How do I apply?

The JTO has a third-party verification partner for all need-based scholarships. If you are applying for need-based scholarships you must apply at TADS.com and provide all the information and documentation required. There is an application fee of $34.  If the fee is a hardship, please call the JTO.

If you have secured recommended funds for your student(s), then you need to apply through the JTO by using the simple application located on the website.  Even though your child has funds recommended for them, by law, an application must be submitted. There is not a cost for the recommended fund application process.

What are the deadlines to apply?

The state requires an application for every scholarship awarded, and a scholarship must be awarded for each year.  So while technically there is not a deadline,  you must apply for every school year you want to receive a scholarship. Applications open January 10 and the JTO starts awarding scholarships in May.  As long as there is money available, the JTO will continue to award scholarships.

Are all students eligible to receive scholarship funds from the JTO?

Whether you qualify for need-based, or are securing recommended funds, there is a way to obtain scholarships from the JTO.  The only exception to this is if your child receives funds from Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Account, or ESA. By law, a student cannot receive both an ESA scholarship and an STO scholarship. 

How do I know if I should apply for a scholarship?

Everyone with a child attending one of JTO’s six affiliated schools should apply for a JTO scholarship using the simple application process.  If you meet the requirements for need-based, you should also apply through TADS.  

How do I know what type of scholarship is best for my situation?

The JTO is happy to help you.  Simply fill out the application in its entirety and we will be able to walk you through your options, or call our office at 480.634.4926.

How will I know how much in recommended funds my child has received?

The JTO cannot provide you with the names of supporters who have recommended your child – it is against Arizona law.  However, we can provide you with total amounts and are happy to do so. Simply send an email to recommendations@jtophoenix.org and provide the name of your child or children, the name of the school and grade at one of JTO’s affiliated schools or call 480-481-1792.

If it’s up to me to secure recommended funds, what do I need to know first?

There are several key concepts that will help you when talking to potential supporters that may recommend your child or children.

  1. Supporting the JTO through Arizona’s private school tax credit, is a dollar-for-dollar credit against an Arizona tax liability, it is not a charitable donation that would only lower their taxable income. This means it’s a credit against money owed or already paid through deductions, so it becomes a net zero impact on the supporter – basically it doesn’t cost anything for them to support your child’s education. 
  2. The maximum amount of the 2018 tax credits are $2,213 for couples filing jointly and $1,107 for single tax filers. For 2019 the maximum amount of the tax credits are $2,269 for couples filing jointly and $1,135 for single tax filers.
  3. The 2018 support must be given by April 15, 2019, or whenever the supporter files their taxes – whichever comes first.  For 2019 support it must be given by April 15, 2020, or whenever the supporter files their taxes – whichever comes first. Supporters must give to the JTO before they file their taxes.

Can I ask out of state friends or relatives to take the credit and recommend my child?

For the recommendation to be taken as a state tax credit, the person providing support must have an Arizona state tax liability.  You cannot take the credit against someone else’s Arizona taxes and give them the credit. Someone from out of state can make a contribution to the JTO and recommend those funds, but they need to check with their tax professional regarding claiming it as a tax deduction. The JTO is still obligated to abide by Arizona law that a child must meet other criteria beyond a recommendation to receive a scholarship.

I’m not having much success in obtaining recommendations for my child, what should I do?

Be confident in your knowledge of the tax credit and how the JTO works and then make a plan. Consider who you want to ask, how you want to ask (phone, email, letter, social media, in person) and when you are going to ask.  It is never too soon to ask, you can always offer to follow up at a time closer to your contact’s decision time, but then make sure you do follow up.

Create an “elevator speech” for your ask and include key points that will resonate with your contact.  Such as the importance of Jewish education, that the tax credit is dollar-for-dollar and won’t cost them any money, or any variable that you feel would be important/relevant to the person you are asking to support your child.

Explore the JTO website for resources. Download sample communications from the JTO website to give you a starting point. Also, keep copies of  the downloadable form from the site that you can hand out to your contacts.

Remember, not everyone you ask will agree to support your child.  Just thank them for any consideration and move on to your next contact. You never know, they may say “no” one year and “yes” the following year.

What if my child is just starting kindergarten or was in a public school?

If your child is entering kindergarten, or has attended a public school for at least 90 days during the application year,  it is beneficial for you to apply for a scholarship. There are specific funds, called “switcher” funds to provide scholarships for children entering kindergarten or “switching” from public school to private school. However, this must be done in the first year of the student attending private school. Once a child receives “switcher” funded scholarships, they are eligible to continue receiving scholarships from this source as long as they remain in private school.