With the new tax law, many taxpayers do not itemize deductions. Teachers and educators who spend their own money for classroom supplies for which they are not reimbursed are given an above-the-line tax deduction for up to $250 directly against gross income, whether they itemize or not. It is important to know which teachers and educators qualify as well as what expenses qualify for this special tax break.
Who qualifies for the $250 deduction?
- Kindergarten through grade 12 teachers, counselors, principals or aides of state-approved public or private school systems who work at least 900 hours during the school year
- Home schooling educators do not qualify
What expenses qualify for the $250 deduction?
Ordinary and necessary expenses for items used in the classroom. Ordinary expenses are ones that are common and accepted in the educational field. Necessary expenses are those that are helpful and appropriate for the educator.
- Computer software and equipment
- Other materials used in the classroom
- Athletic supplies if used for physical education or health
- Professional development expenses relating to field of instruction
It is important to note that qualified expenses must be reduced by:
- Interest on Series EE and U.S. savings bonds excluded from income because they were used to pay qualified higher education expenses
- Distributions from qualified tuition programs that were excluded from income
- Any reimbursements you received for expenses
- Tax free withdrawals from Coverdell education savings accounts