There once was a husband and wife who sat down for dinner in their modest home. They had prepared the meal themselves, having just enough in their pantry for a simple dinner for two.
Before eating they opened the large picture window near the table revealing a lovely view of the adjacent park. They saw a man and his young daughter sitting on a park bench. They were wearing tattered clothes.
The couple had seen this man and his daughter before and knew of their circumstances. A neighbor had explained how the man lost his job and fell on hard times, and that the daughter received free breakfast and lunch at school -- the only meals she was able to eat in recent months because of the family's misfortune.
The husband looked down at his plate. It was one of his favorite meals, beef, potatoes, peas and a biscuit. The aroma of the marinated beef filled the dining room.
But looking up into his wife's eyes he could tell she was thinking the same thought. Rising from the table they carried their plates across the street and gave them to the man.
Somewhat embarrassed, the father tried to decline their generosity, but when his daughter saw the food he could not turn away such a kind gift. "Thank you," he said. "Thank you so much."
As the couple returned to their home they paused at the threshold for a moment, feeling gratitude for all they had and knowing that missing one meal would not be a hardship for them, especially when measured against all they enjoyed in their lives.
Then something incredible happened. When they returned to clear the table, there at each chair, was a full plate of food for each of them.
And not just any food, but the exact plates with the exact same meal of beef, potatoes, peas and a biscuit. Pea-for-pea, not a bite was missing.
Looking out the window they could see that man and his daughter enjoying the meal they had provided. So how could this have happened?
It may sound impossible, but this is how the often misunderstood Arizona State Tax Credit program can work for residents that have a desire to help others.
For the purpose of this blog entry I will use Prescott Area Habitat for Humanity to illustrate how the regenerating program works.
If you donate to the Prescott Area Habitat for Humanity you are providing more than just a single meal, you become part of a community wide effort to build homes for worthy local families in need. Homes that truly change lives.
Sit down today at your table and write a check to Prescott Area Habitat For Humanity. You can donate up to $400 if you file your taxes jointly, or up to $200 for an individual return. Habitat volunteers will send you a tax credit receipt.
When you sit down at your table again to file your Arizona State tax return you can subtract the entire amount of your donation from your tax bill. This is not simply a tax deduction, but a reduction in the total amount of state tax you owe.
Dime-for-dime, you get your money back. It's like having your plate filled after you share it with someone in need.
What could be better? It's easy and it costs you nothing, but it will mean so much to a family trying to build a better future.
When you mail in your no-cost state tax credit contribution you won't just be raising walls, you'll raise hopes and dreams.
*The deadline for all tax credit donations is December 31 of each year. For more information consult your tax professional or the Arizona Department of Revenue Guidelines.