Now that fall is here and the school has started, many teachers are dipping into their own pockets to buy classroom supplies. Doing this throughout the year can add up fast. Fortunately, eligible educators may be able to defray qualified expenses they pay during the year when they file their tax returns.

Educators who work in schools may qualify to deduct up to $250 of unreimbursed expenses. That amount goes up to $500 if two qualified educators are married and file a joint return. However, neither spouse can deduct more than $250 of his or her qualified expenses when they file.

teacher pointing the pictures in a book

Taxpayers qualify for this deduction if they:

Teach any grade from kindergarten through twelfth grade.

Are a teacher, instructor, counselor, principal or aide.

Work at least 900 hours during the school year.

Work in a school that provides elementary or secondary education.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 expands the above-the-line deduction for classroom expenses to include personal protective equipment, disinfectant, and other supplies used for the prevention of the spread of COVID–19 paid or incurred after March 12, 2020.

teacher standing in front of a blackboard

Qualified expenses include:
>Professional development courses, Books, Supplies,
>Computer equipment including related software and services,
>Supplementary materials,
>Athletic supplies only for health and physical education,
>Face masks, Disinfectant for use against COVID-19,
>Hand soap, Hand sanitizer, Disposable gloves,
>Tape, paint, or chalk used to guide social distancing,
>Physical barriers (such as clear plexiglass),
>Air purifiers, and
>Other items recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) used for the prevention of the spread of COVID-19

Eligible taxpayers can claim this deduction when they file their taxes. We encourage teachers to consider tracking their qualified expenses incurred throughout the year.

Contact Us

If you have any questions related to the deduction for educator expenses, please call our office. We are here to assist you.