If you’re an educator, you may be able to claim certain classroom or professional development expenses you paid for out of pocket with the Educator Expense Deduction.
K-12 teachers, instructors, counselors, aides, and principals who work at least 900 hours at an elementary or secondary institution during a school year can qualify for this deduction. College-level professors, instructors, and administrators do not qualify for this tax break.
Eligible teachers and educators can deduct up to $300 in qualifying expenses from their taxable income. Married couples who are both educators can deduct up to $600 per year in qualifying expenses ($300 per person).
You can deduct expenses for professional development, computer equipment, books, supplies, or other supplementary teaching materials used in your classroom. If you’re a physical education or health teacher, athletic supplies also qualify. In addition, supplies you purchase to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, such as personal protective equipment (PPE), disinfectant, or other expenses can also qualify.
If you’re reimbursed for your expenses, then these costs do not qualify for this deduction. For example, if you paid for a professional education course and your school refunded you this money, then you cannot claim the expense on your tax return.
Eligible educators also must subtract tax-advantage funds used to purchase eligible supplies (such as money from a Cloverdell education savings account) from their expenses. You can find full instructions and requirements in IRS Publication 529.
You can claim this deduction when filing your tax return with IRS form 1040. You do not need to itemize your deductions to claim this tax break.