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I recently attended a back-to-school day for my child and wrote many checks – music boosters, football participation, school sweatshirt, yearbook. How do I know what is tax deductible?
-Jenny in KY


Alas, not much of it will be. Education expenses below college level are not deductible from federal income tax, and while some states allow deductions for costs related to primary and secondary education, it does not appear that your state, Kentucky, is one of them. Anyway, the items you mention are only loosely related to education; a school sweatshirt doesn’t play an equivalent role in transmitting knowledge as, say, a textbook. Even if these expenses were deductible on your state return, the top tax rate in Kentucky is six percent, so there can’t be all that much at stake here. Chances are your only reward will be the knowledge that you helped out your child’s school and contributed to team spirit.

-Conrad de Aenlle