Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee reported the Family and Business Tax Cut Certainty Act of 2012, which included a two-year extension of the Qualified Zone Academy Bond (QZAB) program for school modernization.
QZABs are a form of tax credit bonds which offer the bondholder a federal tax credit instead of interest. QZABs can be used to finance school renovations, equipment purchases, developing course material, and training teachers and personnel at a qualified zone academy.
In general, a qualified zone academy is any public school (or academic program within a public school) below college level that is located in an empowerment zone or enterprise community and is designed to cooperate with businesses to enhance the academic curriculum and increase graduation and employment rates. The provision in the tax bill extends the QZAB program for 2012 and 2013, providing a $400 million allocation per year.
The legislation also extends for two years a provision to allow teachers and other school professionals a $250 above-the-line federal income tax deduction for books, non-athletic supplies, computer equipment and related software, and other supplementary classroom materials purchased.
NSBA will work to urge the inclusion of these provisions in a final tax bill when Congress reconvenes in September.