How are Qualified Educator Expense Deductions calculated?

Created by Harendra Singh Rathore, Modified on Tue, 31 Jan 2023 at 09:35 PM by Harendra Singh Rathore

Teachers often need to purchase items for their classrooms that were not provided by the school. Unfortunately, not all school districts have the financial resources to reimburse their staff. For this reason, the IRS allows eligible educators to deduct up to $300 worth of qualified expenses from their taxable income for 2022.

What Counts as a Qualified Expense?

Qualified expenses can be unreimbursed, out-of-pocket expenses for such things as:

  • Books, supplies, technology, etc. to be used by the children.
  • Professional development courses, books, supplies, computer equipment (including related software and services), other equipment, and supplementary materials that you use in the classroom. 
  • Athletic supplies (for courses in health or physical education).
  • Personal protective equipment, disinfectant, and other supplies used to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

How Do I Know If I'm an Eligible Educator?

The IRS defines eligible educators as anyone who was employed for at least 900 hours during the school year in elementary or secondary education (as determined under state law) with the following job titles:

  • Teachers of Kindergarten through grade 12
  • Instructors
  • Counselors
  • Principals
  • Aides

Unfortunately, individuals employed by pre-schools, college, or graduate school and those who homeschool their own children do not qualify for this deduction.

How Do I Claim the Educator Expense Deduction?

The educator expense deduction may be claimed on Form 1040. Note that this deduction is for expenses paid or incurred during the tax year, not the school year. 

If you and your spouse are both eligible educators and you file a joint return, then you may both take the deduction up to $300 per person for a total of $600.

For more information, please see IRS Topic No. 458 Educator Expense Deduction.

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