Article published March 17, 2006

Teachers look forward to tax rebate


By Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno
Pacific Daily News
gdumat-ol@guampdn.com

For more than 20 years, Ruth Mendiola has been like a second parent to the schoolchildren in her class.
She buys crayons, pencils and composition notebooks when the kids in her class run out of supplies from home. She keeps a stash of healthy snacks for when kids show up without breakfast.
She even has provided a set of clothes for kids who couldn't dress appropriately at year-end promotional ceremonies, Mendiola said.

Her out-of-pocket school expenses clearly add up to at least $500 a school year, so now that a local tax rebate for educators is available for the first time this tax filing season, Mendiola is not letting the opportunity pass.
"I'm going to take advantage of it because it's about time," the Carbullido Elementary School teacher said yesterday at the Barrigada school.

While the Guam Public School System has become better at providing the supplies on her school's wish list, there are things teachers can't help but pay for out of their pockets, including spare change for kids who don't have lunch money, she said.
"We are the mom, the dad, the grandma and the grandpa," she said of educators' roles to the island's public-school children.
Public Law 28-20 allows educators from public and private schools to take advantage of the $500 a year education tax rebate as a supplement to the $250 a year that they are allowed under federal law to take as a deduction from their income.
But unlike the deduction, which only reduces a taxpayer's income for tax computation purposes, the Guam educators' tax rebate is aimed at putting up to $500 every year in the hands of every qualified educator to help him or her recoup school expenses.
Principals, assistant principals and school aides can claim the tax rebate, too, according to the law.
"It would put more money in the hands of teachers who take advantage of the law, which is only fair cause many of them spend more than $500 out of their own pockets," said Sen. Robert Klitzkie, a chief sponsor of the legislation that became the educators tax rebate law.

Carbullido Elementary’s Principal Bernie Tenorio said she also spends money out of her own budget for candy bars, certificates and other little gestures to acknowledge the efforts of teachers.
Tenorio said she and her school's teachers also help to purchase toilet paper, paper towels and air fresheners for the classrooms.

"Those little things can add up," Tenorio said.

Tenorio was unsure, however, if she would be able to fill out the form for the tax rebate because she did not keep all of her receipts, and the receipts will be needed for her to itemize her expenses on the educators qualifying certificate form.

Confusion

The educators tax rebate also has caused some confusion, said tax consultant Rolly Tomada with family-owned A. T. Tomada and Associates, because there's no place for it to be included on the income tax return form.

Department of Revenue and Taxation Director Art Ilagan said the educators tax rebate will be claimed separately on the educators qualifying certificate form, available on www.govguamdocs.com, and does not have to be included on the income tax return 1040 or 1040A forms that people use for their income tax.

Based on the public schools' personnel numbers' showing there are close to 3,000 teachers, school aides and principals in public schools, the potential impact to the GovGuam coffers in one year for public educators alone is $1.5 million if most of them claim the rebate and qualify for it.

Ilagan said it's hard to tell at this point to what extent island teachers would take advantage of the tax rebate.


 

 
 

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