Charitable Deduction of Parochial School Tuition - John R. Dundon II, Enrolled Agent
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Charitable Deduction of Parochial School Tuition

Charitable Deduction of Parochial School Tuition

Meir Katz (J.D. 2010, Georgetown) has posted The Economics of § 170: A Case for the Charitable Deduction of Parochial School Tuition on SSRN. It is fascinating.

Here is the abstract:

That payments for parochial school tuition are not deductible under § 170 is a foregone conclusion in the eyes of many tax policy scholars. Tuition provides an easy case because the donor receives something of great value in return for his donation: the education of his children. This Article questions that conclusion. By taking a close look at the economics behind these tuition payments in the context of a discrete population, the religious Jewish community, I show that traditional economic assumptions are inappropriate for analysis of those payments. Rather than a traditional economic exchange for economically valuable services, tuition payments should be characterized as payments made for unique and vital religious services-payments in exchange for an intangible religious benefit. The benefit of education, so characterized, is not different from many other intangible religious benefits for which corresponding payments are fully deductible. With that observation, I apply traditional tax policy analysis and the policy justifications for § 170 to payments for parochial school tuition and present an argument for the deduction of tuition payments.