The new school year is getting closer and closer by the day, which means it is time for teachers to start setting up their classrooms again.
When this time comes, teachers tend to buy some of their supplies with money out of pocket.
Luckily, there is a specific tax break that allows them to deduct a portion of their expenses.
Understanding the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which was signed into law in 2017, is essential to using this deduction and others that are available to educators in the United States.
Educator Expense Tax Deduction
This specific tax deduction is very important for all educators in the United States.
Before looking to write off expenses on your taxes using this deduction, it is essential to understand the specific qualifications, they are:
You were employed as either a teacher, school counselor, principal, or teacher aide, working for children in kindergarten through twelfth grade.
You worked a minimum of nine hundred hours at a state-certified school. It does not matter if the school is private, religious, or public, all are included in these criteria.
These criteria are put in place to ensure that college professors and additional post-secondary educators cannot use the deduction. In addition to this, it prevents homeschooling parents from using this deduction.
What Can Teachers Write Off?
All in all, this tax deduction allows teachers to deduct out-of-pocket expenses. Although, as an educator, you must know what purchases can be claimed and how much you can claim each tax year so that you can benefit when it comes to filing your income taxes.
Until 2025, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has paused the miscellaneous itemized deductions dependent on the two percent of Adjusted Gross Income floor.
Although, teachers that qualify are still able to deduct some of their out-of-pocket expenses that will not be reimbursed. Those who qualify will be able to deduct up to a maximum of $250 for their unreimbursed supplies.
Additionally, if an educator is married to an individual that is also an educator, the two will be able to deduct up to $500. With that said, neither educator may write off more than $250 individually.
Deducting School Supplies
Generally, teachers can write-off school supplies, this includes:
Athletic equipment for physical education teachers
Any other item that will be essential in the classroom for students.
All teachers must know that you can only receive a tax credit if you have not been previously reimbursed for the items. If you were reimbursed by your school, union, or another party, you may not write off the purchase.
Deduction of Union Dues
Due to relatively new legislation that was passed, until 2025, teachers are no longer able to deduct their union dues.
Can Teachers Write-Off Continuing Education?
While there are very specific requirements put in place, teachers are all to deduct some expenses associated with continuing education.
For you to deduct these expenses, they must be completed to continue your career or they must enhance your skills. But this deduction cannot be used if the education will allow you to qualify for a new line of work. Examples of what can be written off under this deduction include:
Travel and transportation costs
Stay up to date and ask a professional about all the ways you can write off taxes. Read our blog titled “Tax Tips for Educators”.