Teacher Expenses and Your Tax Return, Teacher Expense on Taxes


Are you a teacher, principal, counselor or aide for Kindergarten through Grade 12?

Teacher expenses on taxes are eligible, so you can deduct up to $250. Please note that for 900 hours or more that an educator works during the tax year and you spend your own money on classroom supplies or professional development costs, you qualify to deduct up to $250 of those costs “above-the-line” on Schedule A classroom supplies, teacher supplies, educator expenses, teacher expenses, classroom expenses

What does above the line mean regarding income taxes?

Regarding teacher expenses on taxes, the above-the-line means the deduction can be taken to reduce your income without itemizing your deductions. Like most teachers, you probably spend more than $250 per year. There are additional options to deduct the other teacher expenses. These include: professional development, books, supplies, computer equipment, related software and services, other equipment, and supplementary materials that you use in the classroom according to the IRS Educator Expense Tax Topic. Physical education teachers should note that course supplies for health qualify only if they are related to athletics.

What if I work a summer teaching job or tutor?

Sorry, there is no additional withholding on additional work, such as after school intermurals, summer school or tutoring. Avoid penalty due to your liability being greater than the tax amount you withheld, there are specific margins defined by the IRS. These teacher expenses on tax returns don’t count.

For the first year you have had extra income, there is no penalty, since your withholding at work will cover 100% of your previous year’s income. However, when you have extra income on a consistent basis, there are a couple of you can do to avoid a penalty.

First, increase your withholding for your full-time position. Reduce the number of exemptions you take. This increases the amount of your withholding. The other option is to make estimated quarterly payments of on the additional income.

Report this additional income on a Schedule C. You can also deduct any expenses that related to your outside job. Note that you are liable for the contribution to Social Security and Medicare on any extra income you make. This is computed on the Schedule SE.

Do you itemize your deductions?

You can deduct the costs as an employee business expense; however, your income limits the deductible amount substantially by your income. For example, for teacher expenses on taxes, this means that working at a public school, you can itemize the deductions as a charitable contribution. However, you will need a written notice stating that you made the contribtion. Something like a note from the principal from the school for the IRS. The acknowledgement letter must be in your hands before you file your tax return. To achieve the maximum educators tax benefit, keep a log for the classroom supplies deduction. Oh, and save your receipts.

As a teacher, how do I to prove I bought materials for my classroom?

So, the acknowledgement letter much include certain details depending on the amount you claim as a deduction. However, to start it should include a list of the items with a description and the fair market value of each item.

What limitations should I expect when claiming educator expenses?

You should note there are limitations when it comes to teacher expenses on taxes. Many of the provisions under the tax code have income caps and phase-outs. These will affect your actual tax liability. Call our office for more details and tax tips! Alex Franch, BS EA a call at 781.849.7200. Alex is an enrolled agent with the IRS. Also, you might as well make an appointment to have your taxes prepared and filed. Worthtax has locations in Quincy, Weymouth and Dedham or book your appointment online.


For more information, call Alex Franch at 781.789.7200. WorthTax has locations in Norwell, Dedham, and Weymouth, Massachussetts.
Alex Franch

Mr. Franch is a Tax Specialist and Partner at Joseph Cahill & Associates / WorthTax. He has a diverse background including a Bachelor of Science from Boston College in Mathematics and extensive military service. Mr. Franch is an Enrolled Agent and has eight years of tax preparation experience. He has been serving individuals, families, and businesses for several years with tax and financial planning strategies and is a junior partner with the firm. Mr. Franch is licensed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) with a Series 6, 63, 65, and 7, and by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Division of Insurance.

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