By Jennifer Mayerle

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Save your receipts. That’s the advice from the Minnesota Department of Revenue when you go back-to-school shopping.

This is the time of year when parents and students stock up on the required list of supplies for school.

There are tax benefits to help you save money on the basics and other expenses related to education.

Stocking up on pencils, paper, notebooks and folders can all add up. The National Retail Federation estimates families will spend nearly $320 on school supplies and electronics.

But there are ways to save on the back end.

“As they’re filling up that back-to-school shopping list, they can save those receipts and at tax time they can get important benefits,” said Revenue Commissioner Cynthia Bauerly.

school supplies Get Back Some Of Your Back To School Money

(credit: CBS)

She says there are two ways to save if you hang onto receipts: through a credit and a subtraction.

The credit is for families with a household income of $37,500 or less for one to two kids, $39,500 for three kids — and add $2,000 for each additional child.

“You take those receipts in and you add them up for each child and then you can take a portion of those and can actually get a refundable credit,” Bauerly said. “The average refund is over $200.”

There are no income limits for the subtraction.

“The subtraction is like a deduction, so for everyone else who is above that income limit, they can still save those receipts and then it can reduce the amount of which you pay taxes,” Bauerly said.

She says the tax benefit also includes summer camp taught by a qualified instructor, a music camp, music lessons or the cost to rent an instrument.

“Anything that’s taught by a qualified instructor, so after-school tutoring can also qualify,” Bauerly said. “We really want people to know what the benefits are to Minnesota taxes so that they can receive that money or reduce the amount of taxes that they pay to the state.”

Representatives from the revenue department will have a booth at the Minnesota State Fair later in August in the Education Building.

They will give away envelopes for receipts with information on them about qualifying expenses.

Click here for more detailed information on the credit and subtraction.


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