Young family gives back through School Scholarship Tax Credit

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Brian and Nikki Rosswurm

Nikki and Brian Rosswurm with their two children, Landon and Lorelei

As a certified financial planner and father of two young children, Brian Rosswurm ’05 naturally looks to steward his family’s resources to maximize their impact and return. Supporting Scecina always has been an important part of this calculation for Brian and his wife, Nikki (Runner) Rosswurm ‘05, a teacher and  Social Studies department chair at Scecina. Contributing to Scecina’s mission through the Indiana School Scholarship Tax Credit (SSTC) program proved to be a perfect way to do just that.

Indiana is one of only 19 states to offer this program, in which individuals and corporations can receive a 50% state tax credit on donations made to a qualified “scholarship granting organization.” These organizations then provide tuition scholarships to students below a specific household income who would like to attend a participating private school. Additionally, SSTC donors can designate which school they would like their gift to benefit. Many Scecina students can attend our school because of the SSTC program and because of donors like the Rosswurms who make Scecina-designated gifts to our partner organization, the Institute for Quality Education (IQE).

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Brian shares some advice about the SSTC based on his professional and personal experience with financial advising, philanthropic giving, and the SSTC:

What initially drew you to giving to Scecina through SSTC?

Nikki and I both graduated from Scecina and valued the experience and friendships we made. The SSTC program was a way to help make this experience more accessible to more families, which is important to both of us. We already supported education accessibility, so the SSTC program was an easy fit because we received an additional tax benefit for something we were already doing anyway.

Is making a gift through SSTC a difficult process?

No! It is very simple. You can donate online, write a check, or even give appreciated stock to the SSTC. Once the donation is complete, you will receive a tax credit certification number from IQE (Scecina’s partner organization) to support your Indiana tax return credit.

As a financial planner, what has been your experience with clients’ awareness of SSTC giving?

The largest obstacle that I encounter is lack of awareness. Donors simply do not know that SSTC exists and why they should care about it – the 50% state tax credit! (In other words, a $1,000 gift to SSTC entitles a donor to a $500 Indiana tax credit. ) However, I am a firm believer in not letting tax be the primary motive for charitable gifts. Find organizations that promote your beliefs and values, and if there are tax incentives for what you want to support anyway, then all the better!

How can charitable giving through SSTC be a part of a person’s overall financial planning?

The tax rules changed a few years ago, making the charitable tax deduction less common. Most taxpayers simply take the standard deduction now, rather than itemizing, and therefore do not utilize a federal tax deduction for charitable gifts. However, the SSTC is a state tax credit available to all donors if they pay Indiana taxes. So, for taxpayers knowing they will take the federal standard deduction, this program is a way to secure an Indiana tax benefit for your charitable giving.

Any general advice for someone curious about SSTC giving?

Research the program’s benefits online to see if it is something that interests you or ask a trusted advisor what tax benefits may be available to you.  Also, I think there can be a misconception that gifting is too complicated when it is often very simple!

 

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