Tax Deduction for Private School Tuition

For the first time in Wisconsin history, parents with a child in a private school will be able to receive a tax deduction for private school tuition beginning in tax year 2014.

Under the program, parents statewide will be able to deduct up to $4,000 per student in grades K-8, and up to $10,000 per high school student. The tax deduction begins in tax year 2014.  Please note, for parents with a high school senior in 2013-14, tuition checks written prior to January 1, 2014, will not be eligible for the deduction. The full language of the motion is included below for reference.

What constitutes "tuition" remains undefined, so it is still unclear if parents will be able to deduct educational expenses as well as tuition. WCRIS will continue to work with the Department of Revenue to define what expenses can be included in the deduction.


Language of tuition tax deduction motion:


Definition of Private Schools According to State Statute:

118.165  Private schools.

(1) An institution is a private school if its educational program meets all of the following criteria:

(a) The primary purpose of the program is to provide private or religious-based education.

(b) The program is privately controlled.

(c) The program provides at least 875 hours of instruction each school year.

(d) The program provides a sequentially progressive curriculum of fundamental instruction in reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, science and health. This subsection does not require the program to include in its curriculum any concept, topic or practice in conflict with the program's religious doctrines or to exclude from its curriculum any concept, topic or practice consistent with the program's religious doctrines.

(e) The program is not operated or instituted for the purpose of avoiding or circumventing the compulsory school attendance requirement under s. 118.15 (1) (a) and (am).

(f) The pupils in the institution's educational program, in the ordinary course of events, return annually to the homes of their parents or guardians for not less than 2 months of summer vacation, or the institution is licensed as a child welfare agency under s. 48.60 (1).

(2) An institution may request the state superintendent to approve the institution's educational program as a private school. The state superintendent shall base his or her approval solely on the criteria under sub. (1).

History: 1983 a. 512; 1989 a. 336; 1995 a. 27; 1997 a. 27; 2009 a. 41.