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Category: Finding Deductions

Please explain all of the deductions and credits that are available related to my job.

Educator (Teacher) Expenses:

If you or your spouse worked as an educator, you probably spent money on supplies, materials, and other teaching aids to help you do your job. Most of these expenses are deductible on your return.

As long as you worked in a public or private school teaching kindergarten through grade 12, you can deduct qualified expenses (up to $250 per educator) that you paid out-of-pocket. Qualifying expenses include books, software, supplies, and materials.

Moving Expenses:

If you moved to a new home during the year, you may be able to deduct many of the moving costs. To be deductible, the move must meet three of the following requirements:

  • Your move is closely related to the start of work
  • You meet the distance test
  • You meet the time test

For more information, please review Form 3903.

Business Use of Home:

If you used part of your home for business purposes (as an office or for daycare), you may be entitled to a deduction for this.

Unfortunately, this is not a very common deduction because you generally must use part of your home:

  • Exclusively and regularly as your principal place of business,
  • Exclusively and regularly as a place where you meet or deal with patients, clients, or customers in the normal course of your trade or business,
  • In the case of a separate structure which is not attached to your home, in connection with your trade or business,
  • On a regular basis for certain storage use,
  • For rental use, or
  • As a daycare facility

If you meet ALL of the above tests, you qualify for a deduction for the business use of your home.

Additional Tests for Employee Use

  • Your business use must be for the convenience of your employer, and
  • You must not rent any part of your home to your employer and use the rented portion to perform services as an employee for that employer

Traveling expenses:

If you traveled for your job, many of the expenses you incurred may be deductible on your return. You can only deduct those expenses that you paid and were not reimbursed for.

For a travel expense to qualify for deduction, the travel must have been primarily in relation to your job. Qualifying travel expenses include:

  • parking fees
  • tolls
  • transportation (such as taxis and shuttles)
  • lodging
  • airplane travel
  • car rental for business purposes
  • any meals and entertainment

You can even deduct expenses for the business use of your personal vehicle (such as mileage)

Other Job-related Expenses:

Finally, you can deduct any other unreimbursed expenses that are considered "ordinary" and "necessary" for your job. "Ordinary" just means that it is a common and accepted expense for your profession. "Necessary" just means that the expense is helpful and appropriate. The expense does not have to be required to be deductible.

  • Looking for or finding a job
  • Uniforms
  • Union or Professional Association dues
  • Tools
  • Other job supplies

For additional information, please refer to the instructions for Form 2106.