Taxpayers are donating to the new education funds listed on the 1990 state tax return, but many are failing to specify where they want their money spent.
Meanwhile, the added donations for educational agencies are reducing the amount given to other programs, such as the homeless and non-game wildlife funds, indicated on the return, the Utah Tax Commission says.The new donation lines for college libraries and public school districts go a step further than other contributions. In addition to just checking off the donation box, taxpayers also should specify which college or university library, or which school district foundation, should receive the money.
"About one-third are forgetting to take this extra step," said Janice Perry, Utah Tax Commission spokeswoman.
Instructions on how to make the selection and explanations of how the money will be spent are in the booklet containing the tax return.
Donations not designated will be pooled and distributed equally among the institutions and school districts, the commission said.
As of March 14, 4 percent of the returns showed donations, totaling $12,186, to the college and university library fund. The school district foundation fund has received $12,704, although fewer taxpayers - less than 1 percent of the returns - have contributed to that fund.
Because this is the first year for the education donations, state tax officials don't know if the contributions are high or low. But administrative officer Viola Weyland said that as more donation checkoffs are added to the tax return, the amounts going to different areas get smaller.
"It indicates that those who are donating spread it around more," she said.
Donations to both the homeless and the non-game wildlife funds are far behind last year's totals. As of March 14, the homeless fund has received $57,285 from taxpayers, while the total received in the 1989 tax year was $307,489.
The non-game wildlife fund is $108,878 short of last year's total receipts.
But there is still time and a chance to catch up. Weyland said about 40 percent of the returns come in during April and so far the number of returns received are 5 percent to 8 percent behind last year.