It also reduces your adjusted gross income (AGI), which is important because you can become ineligible for certain tax benefits if your AGI is too high. In addition, the IRS urges anyone with tax due to choose the speed and convenience of paying electronically, such as with IRS Direct Pay, a free service available only on For information about this and other payment options, visit Whether a return is self-prepared or prepared with the assistance of a tax professional or trained community volunteer, the IRS urges everyone to file electronically and choose direct deposit for any refund. Unfortunately, teacher’s union dues are no longer deductible as a result of tax reform. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), sanitizer, plexiglass, and disinfectant used to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are allowed as deductions under the Educator Expense Deduction.

  1. If your expenses exceed $250, you used to treat the amount over that as unreimbursed employee expenses—if the money spent exceeded 2% of your AGI.
  2. Kelley has over two decades of experience advising on and covering education, law, finance, and tax as a corporate attorney and business journalist.
  3. This deduction is for expenses paid or incurred during the tax year.
  4. They can only claim this deduction for expenses that were not reimbursed by their employer, a grant or other source.

Some education expenses are tax deductible or may allow you to claim a tax credit. While new tax rules changed what’s available, student loan interest is tax deductible. Additionally, tuition and fees still count as qualified education expenses for the American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning credits. Federal data show that teachers in high-poverty schools spend more on classroom supplies—as well as on food, clothing, and personal-hygiene items for students—than their peers in more-affluent schools. And this year, with millions of Americans unemployed, teachers say they feel even more obligated to use their own money to support their students. But there are other tax credits that may be helpful if you have significant expenses for continuing education and professional development.

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Julia Kagan is a financial/consumer journalist and former senior editor, personal finance, of Investopedia. For more detailed information on the Educator Expense Deduction, look to IRS publication 529. Experian websites have been designed to support modern, up-to-date internet browsers.

This fall, PPE and classroom sanitizing equipment were the most commonly purchased supply by teachers who received donations. Teachers who have been working in school buildings this year have often had to dip into their own wallets to purchase personal protective equipment to keep themselves and their students safe from the coronavirus. As the senior tax editor at, Kelley R. Taylor simplifies federal and state tax information, news, and developments to help empower readers. Kelley has over two decades of experience advising on and covering education, law, finance, and tax as a corporate attorney and business journalist.

The Educator Expense Deduction

Many income earners view doling out money for professional tax preparation as a “necessary evil”. But some educators qualify for free professional tax assistance. The IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, or VITA, offers free basic tax return preparation to qualified individuals who earn less than $64,000 annually.

What’s deductible?

Although many educators spend more than the $300 allowed for this deduction, saving a few dollars at tax time may serve as a small thank-you. Schools will provide (via mail or electronic portal) the student with a Form 1098-T, which will reflect tuition and fees amounts that the school receives in payment. You may also use payment receipts or any other kind of statements showing the payment of qualified education expenses. “Folks need to realize that [secondary] income is going to be stacked on top of other income,” he said.

Education groups have asked for Congress to give more money to schools to help offset some of these expenses. Teachers working remotely have also had to pay for their high-speed wireless internet at home, which is now essential to their job. A nationally representative EdWeek Research Center survey in May found that just 1 percent of teachers said their school or district was footing the bill for their home internet access. Her district provides some materials for parents to pick up at school, but many of her students can’t make it to the school building. Calderon buys supplies like whiteboard markers and crayons and drops them off at her students’ houses.

What Is the Educator Expense Deduction?

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Eligible educators include anyone who is a kindergarten through grade 12 teacher, instructor, counselor, principal or aide in a school for at least 900 hours during the school year. WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today reminded teachers and other educators planning ahead for 2022 that they’ll be able to deduct up to $300 of out-of-pocket classroom expenses when they file their federal income tax return next year. Teachers, principals, counselors, aides and instructors at private or public K-12 schools can deduct up to $300 of their unreimbursed expenses for classroom supplies, continuing education and COVID-19 prevention in 2022. For courses in health and physical education, expenses for supplies are qualified expenses only if they are related to athletics.

These states include Alabama, Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Minnesota, New York, and Pennsylvania. If you are an eligible educator, you can deduct the unreimbursed costs of professional development courses that are related to what you’re teaching your students at school. However, those courses would still be subject to the $300 deduction limit. So, if you’re an educator who has unreimbursed out-of-pocket classroom expenses, you may be able to deduct those expenses on your federal income tax return. With the tax deadline just around the corner, the IRS reminds any educator still working on their 2021 return that they can claim any qualifying expenses on Schedule 1, Line 11. If they are married and file a joint return with another eligible educator, the limit rises to $500.

Teachers Can Apply PPE Costs to Their $250 Educator Tax Deduction. Is That Enough?

For instance, 37 states plus the District of Columbia allow taxpayers whose incomes fall under a certain income level to deduct student loan interest when calculating their taxable income. To understand more about tax deductions, visit our Self-Employed Tax Deduction Calculator for Tutors. The first requirement prevents college or other post-secondary teachers from claiming the deduction, while the second means that the deduction isn’t available to homeschooling parents. • You can claim the Educator Expense Deduction regardless of whether you take the Standard Deduction or itemize your tax deductions. Schools should have received extra money from Congress to purchase protective equipment for staff and students, she said. “What will happen instead—as it always does—is that teachers will subsidize the cost of getting kids back to in-person learning,” Weingarten said.

free filing, max refund guarantee.

Further, educators who earn money as independent contractors will need to keep track of their expenses, some of which may be tax deductible. Originally part of the American Taxpayer Relief Act, the educator expense deduction is indexed to inflation, so it doesn’t lose its value over time. Even better is that this deduction comes “right off the top” of your gross income and is not part of itemization. This is an important issue considering recent changes to the tax structure that nearly doubled the educator expenses 2020 standard deduction for many people—thus eliminating the need to itemize. You also may be eligible to claim the Educator Expense Deduction for professional development courses related to teaching that were not reimbursed by your school or by another source. Ultimately, educators need to consider if it’s worthwhile to exert the extra time and effort that comes with working additional hours, tracking expenses (if employed as an independent contractor), and moving up into a higher income tax bracket.

For example, if you work at your kitchen table, it won’t qualify. For more information about this, the COVID-related Tax Relief Act of 2020 and other tax changes, visit Other items can be eligible as well if they’re recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Experian Smart Money™ Debit Card is issued by Community Federal Savings Bank (CFSB), pursuant to a license from Mastercard International.

She has also purchased things like water bottles for students since the school’s water fountains are off-limits, and foaming hand soap to make washing hands go quicker and be more fun for her young students. For nearly twenty years, the annual limit for the educator expense deduction had been $250. But due in part to inflation, the IRS has, in recent years, adjusted the educator expense deduction upward by $50. For additional information regarding the deduction for certain expenses of an eligible educator, see the Instructions for Form 1040 and Form 1040-SRPDF or the Instructions for Form 1040-NR. The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015 made the above-the-line educator expense deduction permanent, however, and it indexed it for inflation, too.

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