Published on: September 8, 2021 Last modified: September 29, 2021

A Quick Guide to Claiming Tax Deductions for Educator Expenses

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    Educators play a critical role in shaping the lives of people by tutoring and inspiring them. Most people would not be where they are today if it weren’t for the efforts of a few teachers throughout their lives.  Educators understand their importance in the development of so many people, and many don’t hesitate to go the extra mile to help their students. That often includes out-of-pocket educator expenses for items they need, such as books, learning software, stationary, or other common expenses.  Lawmakers recognize the efforts of our educators and have included some deductions for these expenses in our tax code. You can claim some of these tax deductions if you keep good records. The first step is to determine what educator expenses are and which category of people can claim deductions on them. They include all the money that a teacher or instructor uses out-of-pocket while in their line of duty. Many such expenses qualify for deductions if the teacher uses the items for the classroom and does not get reimbursed for them. This guide will spell out the details of tax deductions for educator expenses and how to make sure you qualify.
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    Qualified Educator Expenses

    It’s important to keep track of all your educator expenses. Always be sure to account for each cost you incur when buying educational materials, or even expenses for your own learning. This will make it easier for you to claim these deductions with the IRS.  Not all your expenses as an educator will qualify for deductions. The eligible expenses should be ordinary items that are necessary for fostering the education of your class. Here are some common educator expenses you can claim deductions on:
    The Tax Relief Act of 2020 expanded this list to include other health-related expenses. You can now deduct expenses if you purchased supplies to prevent the spread of coronavirus in your classroom. These deductions include:
    These expenses will only be eligible if they were incurred after March 12, 2020. Contact a tax professional if you need help determining which of your costs qualify.
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    Exceptions and Deductions Limitations

    It’s worth noting that there are certain exceptions and limitations on the amount of educator expense deductions you can claim. The IRS only allows you to deduct expenses that exceed the following:
    The federal Department of Education determined in 2018 that the average teacher expenses amount to about $480. The IRS allows deductions on expenses of up to $250, but this is subject to change every year. This amount can also increase depending on your filing status. You can deduct up to $500 if you and your spouse are educators and you file joint tax returns. You should note that each spouse’s educator expense is still capped at $250, meaning one spouse cannot claim a deduction of $300 and the other $200.
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    Other Tax Deductions Available for Educators

    The IRS offers tax deductions and credits for different circumstances that you can also claim as long as you are eligible, including some that apply to teachers. Tutors that are pursuing higher education, for instance, such as a master’s degree, can claim the lifetime learning credit. This offers you a significant tax credit, as you are allowed to claim up to $2,000 every year. Charitable educators can also claim deductions on any donations they make to a nonprofit educational institution. Remember to keep good records of any charitable donations you make if you wish to secure this tax credit.
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    How to Claim Your Educator Expense Deductions

    Claiming your educator expense deductions is not a complicated process, and all you have to do is fill out the right forms. Teachers can choose to take the standard deduction, but they would need to itemize each tax deduction to get the education deductions. You can claim these by filing out whichever of these three relevant tax forms applies to you:
    Our lawmakers determined that educators should get a break for expenses they incur while doing their job, and every teacher should take advantage of it. Contact a professional if you’re unsure of how to go about that.
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    We Can Help You Get the Most Out of Your Educator Expenses

    Educators work hard to ensure that their students are competent in their subject, and sometimes that causes them some expenses. Busy teachers typically have a lot on their plate, with papers to grade and other after-hours tasks, and tracking tax deductions can slip through the cracks. Silver Tax Group has a team of experienced tax professionals who will put in the effort to ensure that you get the deductions you deserve. We appreciate the work that educators do and are happy to offer them our help in taxation matters. Just contact us today and you’ll never have to worry about your educator expense deductions.

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