Paul S. Mulligan, M.T.S., is the President and CEO of Catholic Education Arizona, and an alumnus of Diocese of Phoenix Catholic schools.

I don’t know about you, but I love the word “rebate.”

Remember “Cash for Clunkers”?

Yes, it’s always better when you get your money back.

Here in Arizona, we have a couple community-serving tax credit programs that effectively work the same way: the Private Education Tax Credit that supports our Catholic schools, and the Charitable Tax Credit, which helps our Catholic charitable-service organizations.

Don’t be afraid of the term “tax credit.” In fact, instead of getting lost in technical tax jargon, just think of these two tax credit programs as “personal rebates” for you to apply toward a cause of your choosing.

Do you value Catholic schools over, say, a myriad of nebulous government programs with untold costs? How about taking a “rebate” of up to $2,006 for Catholic Education Arizona, and direct your tax dollars to be invested to help low-income students, right in your own ZIP code?

Would you prefer your state taxes go to serving needy individuals in our community? Why not take a “rebate” of up to $400 for our diocesan Catholic charitable organizations such as St. Vincent de Paul, Catholic Charities, and Foundation for Senior Living?

Or better still, why not do both!

Really, these options sound so much better than paying taxes, don’t they?

Of course, the benefit of taking these “rebates” is only realized when taxpayers know how to take advantage of tax credits.

So to help Catholics learn how to direct their “rebates” to deserving education and charitable organizations in our diocese, Catholic Education Arizona has created a “must-have” product for your end-of-year tax-related planning: “The 1-2-3 Guide to Arizona Tax Credits,” and it’s available as a free PDF download at

The new tax credit guide makes the complex simple (think of the “rebate” example above) and shows how Catholics can — and should — take advantage of Arizona’s unique tax credit laws that allow you to choose Catholic education and charitable giving in lieu of paying state taxes.

The “1-2-3 Guide to Arizona Tax Credits” provides answers to commonly asked questions:

  • “How does giving through a tax credit cost me ZERO dollars out of pocket?”
  • “What if I get a refund? Can I still participate in these tax credit programs?” (Yes, surprisingly you can — and the clear explanation is in the guide)
  • “What’s the difference between a tax credit and a tax deduction?” (there’s a HUGE difference, so if you pay taxes, you’ll definitely want to read the answer in the Guide.)

We’re all very busy trying to be good, faithful Catholics and followers of Jesus: Who really has time for all this tax stuff? It’s easier to just accept the whole “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s” bit and move on. Taxes are just an unavoidable reality of life here on earth, right?

Well, it’s true that most people would rather get a root canal — or plan their own funeral — than discuss or even think about taxes.

But in Arizona, unlike death, taxes are actually NOT an unavoidable reality.

To help you navigate this likely unfamiliar terrain (the world of “What? I don’t have to pay taxes?”), you just need something simple, straightforward, and “plug-and-play.”

You just need the “The 1-2-3 Guide to Arizona Tax Credits.”

With Dec. 31 fast approaching, you owe it to yourself and the charities you could support to get online and download your free PDF copy today.

Who knows? By taking just a few minutes to look over the guide, and get answers to the most commonly asked questions, you could be opening up a whole new chapter in your autobiography on charitable giving.

So don’t delay. Visit today and discover how taking advantage of these tax credits is a smart year-end giving strategy that will make your hard-earned dollars go further — and make quite a positive impact on deserving families in your community.

Talk about being a good, faithful Catholic.

Something tells me Jesus wouldn’t object to “giving to God what is God’s” …and what is Caesar’s, too.