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Press Release



January 5, 2021
Contact: Christina Mazzanti

Association of American Educators Urges 117th Congress
to Increase and Expand Educator Expense Deduction


Mission Viejo, CA – The Association of American Educators (AAE), a national non-union, professional association serving educators in all fifty states, is calling on the new Congress to increase the existing Educator Expense Deduction from $250 to $1,000 and to permit up to $400 of home internet expenses—a necessity for many educators to continue hybrid, remote, or supplemental online learning—as a qualifying expense. AAE’s proposal, first announced in 2020, would quadruple the amount educators can save, which is currently an estimated $55 for most educators taking the full deduction. If fully implemented and utilized this change would save America’s educators up to $500 million on their federal income taxes.


“Educators have always dipped into their own pockets to cover classroom expenses, fill gaps in needed supplies and technology, and stretched every dollar to meet their students’ learning goals,” stated AAE Executive Director Colin Sharkey. “This necessary expansion of the Educator Expense Deduction supports the leadership educators have shown in adapting to the challenges associated with remote and hybrid instruction.”


The law currently allows educators, including K-12 teachers, instructors, counselors, principals, and aides to deduct up to $250 ($500 for married educators filing jointly) of qualified classroom expenses, including books, supplies, computer equipment and software, and supplementary materials. For 2020, PPE is also a qualifying expense. Federal studies reveal that nearly all teachers report spending their own money on school supplies without reimbursement, with about 3.7 million educators taking this deduction.


The current deduction returns an estimated $200 million to educators; this proposed change would increase that amount to $500-800 million. By comparison the federal government spends approximately $79 billion each year on education programs.


The Educator Expense Deduction was championed by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and first passed into law in 2002. The deduction required regular renewal until the 2015 Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) law made the deduction permanent and tied the deduction to inflation. The deduction was preserved in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.


While increases to the deduction have been proposed in the past, including in 2019, the proposals were combined with other controversial tax changes, making the legislation dead-on-arrival. Previous proposals have also not included home internet, a modern necessity for schools relying on remote and hybrid learning during the coronavirus pandemic.


“With hybrid instruction and its increasing associated costs now a part of our education system, this proposal deserves serious consideration and debate without delay,” added Sharkey, “This means a standalone bill that should attract broad bipartisan support.”

The Association of American Educators (AAE) is the largest national, nonunion, professional educator organization, advancing the profession by offering a modern approach to educator empowerment and advocacy—promoting professionalism, collaboration, and excellence without a partisan agenda. AAE is committed to a teaching profession that is student oriented, well respected, and personally fulfilling. AAE serves members in all fifty states and welcomes professionals from all education entities. Membership is $16.50 per month and includes $2 million professional liability insurance, employment rights coverage, professional resources, and many other benefits. Classroom teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators, student teachers, university professors, and supporters can learn more at