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Tax Tips for Teachers
posted by: Alix | February 14, 2011, 04:50 PM   

With tax season just around the corner, it's important to know what kind of federal tax breaks you might be eligible for as an educator. Most teachers purchase supplies for their classroom out of their own pockets throughout the school year. What you need to know is that if you are a teacher you can deduct up to $250 for unreimbursed classroom expenses.

According to the IRS website:

If you are an eligible educator, you can deduct up to $250 ($500 if married filing joint and both spouses are educators, but not more than $250 each) of any unreimbursed expenses [otherwise deductible as a trade or business expense] you paid or incurred for books, supplies, computer equipment (including related software and services), other equipment, 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. This deduction is for expenses paid or incurred during the tax year. The deduction is claimed on either line 23 of Form 1040 (PDF) or line 16 of Form 1040A (PDF).

You are an eligible educator if, for the tax year, you meet the following requirements:

• You are a kindergarten through grade 12:
o Teacher
o Instructor
o Counselor
o Principal, or
o Aide, and

• You work at least 900 hours a school year in a school that provides elementary or secondary education, as determined under state law.

Qualified expenses are deductible only to the extent the amount of such expenses exceeds the following amounts for the tax year:

• The interest on qualified U.S. savings bonds that you excluded from income because you paid qualified higher education expenses,
• Any distribution from a qualified tuition program that you excluded from income, or
• Any tax-free withdrawals from your Coverdell Education Savings Account.

Make sure to check with your home state to see if you qualify for any deductions under state law and don't forget to leave ample time for filing your taxes. Good luck!

Will you take advantage of this federal deduction?
Comment below.

Comments (1)Add Comment
written by Bev in Naple, March 24, 2014

I was placed back in the classroom after 10 years. I spent almost $3,000 through out this school year to put my room together for Kindergarten. You mean that I can only deduct $250.00 total? I was forced to take a state test that cost $200.00.

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