Scottsdale Charros start CHAPS tax credit program

New Song kids show their hearts, each individually crafted in memory of a loved one, which is supported by the Scottsdale Charros (Photo credit: Susie Steckner)

Many say that knowledge is power and what you do with that knowledge helps you shape the world around you.

The Scottsdale Charros agree.

The Scottsdale Charros — through the established Charro Foundation — has created the Child Assistance Program Sponsor program meant to give people an opportunity to contribute tax credit dollars toward certain qualified charities.

“The Child Assistance Program Sponsor (CHAPS) initiative has the ability to help the Charros raise a substantial amount of money for a number of deserving Qualifying Charitable Organizations and Foster Care Charitable Organizations,” said Charro Patron David Westra.

“As I speak to friends, I am amazed at how few people understand how the Arizona Tax Credit programs work. Most assume that once they have made their donation to Notre Dame Prep or Xavier College Prep, they are maxed out.”

Here’s how it works: a single Arizona taxpayer can give up to $400 to a Qualified Charitable Organization and receive $400 back from Arizona in a tax credit. So, if you owe $500 in taxes, but you gave $400 in a qualifying donation, you would only owe Arizona $100 in taxes.

If you are a married taxpayer filing a joint return, you can give up to $800. It works the same for Qualifying Foster Care Charities, except the limits are higher: $500 for a single filer and $1,000 for a joint filer.

Mr. Westra explains there are five different types of tax credits that could help tax filers qualify for a federal tax exemption.

“There are five different types of tax credits available for Arizona filers to utilize,” he explains.

“As a result of cap increases for 2016, married couples filing jointly are eligible for a combined tax credit of up to $4,773, if their Arizona tax liability is large enough to absorb the tax credits. Single and head of household taxpayers are eligible for up to a $2,387 Arizona tax credit.”

For 55 years the Scottsdale Charros have been in constant pursuit of improving the lives of Scottsdale residents while preserving the community’s ties to its western heritage.

Mr. Westra says he is hoping the Scottsdale Charros can create an additional $500,000 in charitable funds to local nonprofit efforts through this new tax credit program.

“In short, nonprofit organizations have promoted taking advantage of tax credits for years, with mixed results,” he said.

“Clearly some have done better than others in promoting the benefits and soliciting donations. CHAPS is bringing additional awareness to this opportunity and helping to raise additional money for the charities. The majority of people I have spoken with who have contributed to CHAPS, have not taken advantage of these tax credits in the past.”

Local schools typically garner a great deal of tax credit donations through parents of students, Mr. Westra points out.

“Most had contributed to either the private school tuition or public school tax credits, but they did not know that they could also receive a tax credit by making a donation to a Qualifying Charitable Organization and/or a Forster Care Charitable Organization,” he explained of conversations he is having in the local community.

“I believe most of the money that CHAPS will raise this year will be incremental, new money raised for the charities we are supporting. And the best part is, 100 percent of the money raised through CHAPS will be donated to the charity(ies) of the donor’s choice.”

The CHAPS program is an effort that has Mr. Westra and the Charro community excited for what new avenues of philanthropy this program could create.

“I have seen first-hand the impact that the CHAPS program can have on encouraging more people to get involved in Scottsdale Charro efforts,” Mr. Westra said. “As the CHAPS program gains traction in the coming years, I would expect to see a huge increase in the number of people who support this and other efforts we sponsor to raise money for local non-profit organizations.”

To learn more, go to chapscharities.org.

Northeast Valley Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at tthornton@newszap.com

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