Are you a teacher who shells out your own money to pay for books, pens, pencils and basic supplies needed for your classroom? A recent survey reported that on average, teachers nationwide spend around $500 out-of-pocket on classroom materials and supplies each year. The survey, conducted by the National School Supply and Equipment Association, also found that teachers pay for 77 percent of the school supplies needed in their classrooms. If you are an eligible educator, you may be able to deduct up to $250 of expenses you paid for purchases of books and classroom supplies. These out-of-pocket expenses may lower your tax liabilities, even if you don’t itemize your deductions. This deduction is for expenses paid or incurred during the tax year. The deduction is claimed on either line 23 of Form 1040 or line 16 of Form 1040A.
Do You Qualify For The Deduction?
The deduction is available if you are an eligible educator in a public or private elementary, or secondary school (kindergarten through 12th grade). To be eligible, you must work at least 900 hours during a school year as a teacher, instructor, counselor, principal, or aide.
What Expenses Can Be Used Toward The Deduction?
You may subtract up to $250 of qualified expenses when figuring your adjusted gross income (AGI). Qualified expenses are unreimbursed expenses you paid or incurred for books, supplies, computer equipment (including related software and services) and supplementary materials that you use in the classroom. For courses in health and physical education, expenses for supplies are "qualified expenses", only if they are related to athletics. The deduction includes both ordinary and necessary expenses.
*Home schooling expenses are not included in qualified expenses.
What If You Claim These Expenses As Unreimbursed Employee Expenses Deductions?
If you do itemize your deductions, you cannot claim the same educator expenses as both a Deduction for Educator Expenses and as a deduction for Unreimbursed Employee Expenses. You can only list these expenses as a deduction in one place on your return.
For more information about educator expenses deduction, click here.