Deduction for Educator Expenses
If you were an eligible educator in the tax year, you can deduct up to $250 of qualified expenses you paid in the tax year. If you and your spouse are filing jointly and both of you were qualified educators, the maximum deduction is $500. However, neither spouse can deduct more than $250 of his or her qualified expenses. You may be able to deduct expenses that are more than $250 ($500 limit) on Schedule A. An eligible educator is a kindergarten through grade 12 teacher, instructor, counselor, principal, or aide who worked in a school for at least 900 hours during a school year.
Qualified Expenses include ordinary and necessary expenses paid in connection with books, supplies, equipment (including computer equipment, software, and services), and other materials used in the classroom. An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your educational field. A necessary expense is one that is helpful and appropriate for your profession as an educator. An expense does not have to be required to be considered necessary.
Qualified expenses do not include expenses for home schooling or for nonathletic supplies for courses in health or physical education.
You must reduce your qualified expenses by the following amounts:
- Excludable U.S. Series EE and I savings bond interest from Form 8815
- Nontaxable qualified tuition program earnings or distributions
- Any nontaxable distribution of Coverdell education savings account earnings
- Any reimbursements you received for these expenses not reported to you in box 1 of your Form W-2
Beginning with 2017 returns: This provision was modified to include certain expenses related to professional development courses the taxpayer takes related to the curriculum they teach or to their students. The deduction amount will be indexed for inflation for future years.
For more details, use TeleTax topic 458 1-800-829-4933.