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Tax Deductions for Teachers

Teachers commonly dip into their own pockets to pay for classroom materials. The good news is, if you teach at least 900 hours in a school year, you might be eligible to deduct up to $250 of any un-reimbursed expenses on your taxes.

What are the Qualifying Criteria?

  • You worked as a teacher, instructor, counselor, principal or aide for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

  • You worked at least 900 hours at a school certified by a state to provide elementary or secondary education. This applies to public, private and religious schools.

What Are Qualified Educator or Teacher Expenses? The following expenses are considered deductible expenses:

  • Books, classroom supplies, computer equipment, software, etc.

  • Athletic equipment (only if they are related to health and physical education courses)

"Ultimately, the guidelines are pretty broad as long as the item was purchased for use within a classroom and is appropriate and useful to the students," says David Hryck, a tax lawyer and financial adviser with the Reed Smith firm in New York City. Are There Exceptions Related to Qualified Educator Expenses? Under certain circumstances, you may have to reduce your Educator Expense Deduction. According to the IRS, these must be subtracted from your deduction:

  • The interest on qualified U.S. savings bonds excluded from income because of paid qualified higher education expenses

  • Any distribution from a qualified tuition program excluded from income

  • Any tax-free withdrawals from a Coverdell Education Savings Account

  • Any reimbursed expenses not reported on W-2, box 1

If you have questions about your deductions, or need advice, give us a call.


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