February 12, 2019

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ACTION NEEDED: Three bills have been introduced in the 116th Congress to expand the use of Section 529 education accounts* to qualified homeschool expenses.

(On July 20, 2018, WPA asked for action on S.3102 Student Empowerment Act, introduced during the 115th Congress. Read more about it below.)

Please call your U.S. Representative and Senators and respectfully ask them to OPPOSE both H.R.65 Enhancing Educational Opportunities for Home School Students Act and H.R.621/S.157 Student Empowerment Act. You may also wish to call the co-sponsors for each respective bill and explain why you are opposed to the bill. (Since these bills are all federal legislation, there is no need to contact your state Senator or Representative at this time.)

  • Currently in Wisconsin, the administrators of a home-based private education (homeschool) program, and they alone, determine what is considered educational and what type of curriculum they include in their homeschool program.
  • The biggest concern for Wisconsin homeschoolers is that this allows the federal government to determine what is considered an educational expense by defining a “qualified expense.”
  • Defining what is considered a legitimate homeschooling expense will limit the freedom of homeschoolers in Wisconsin, and if homeschoolers took advantage of this program, they would have to answer to the federal government as well as the state government to show that the homeschooling expenses they claim are acceptable.
  • Let your Representative and Senators know that Wisconsin’s homeschool law is working and homeschoolers do not want special treatment or favors.

U.S. Representative and Senator contact information can be found here.

*Definition of 529 education account, “What is a 529 Account? From Quora: A 529 is a savings or investment account for education expenses. It combines some of the tax advantages of an IRA or similar retirement account with a different goal: Paying for your (or, more likely, your kids’) education. Earnings (the interest or capital gains) in the account are sheltered from taxes.”

UPDATE on H.R.6674 Student Empowerment Act (as a part of H.R.88 Shiloh National Military Park Boundary Adjustment and Parker’s Crossroads Battlefield Designation Act, also referred to as the Retirement, Savings, and Other Tax Relief Act of 2018): it appears that this bill will not be brought forward to the 116th Congress, so no further action is required.

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