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Tax Blog

Giving the Teachers Their Credit

Teachers are continuously put into the toughest of situations while trying to raise this generation’s youth. This has especially been the case since COVID. As inflation is on the rise, the Education Expense Tax Deduction has been adjusted so that more educators can write off classroom expenses and supplies on their tax returns. Studies have shown that nearly 94% of teachers pay for their classroom supplies and, on average, are set to spend about $864 just for this school year alone. Another study shows that teachers typically spend around $550 of their own money, with around 20% spending upwards of $1,000.

For this tax season, the maximum educator deduction is $300 if you are an eligible educator; this is up from the previous $250 that it help at for nearly 20 years. On top of this, educators will not be asked to itemize the deductions on their returns. For married educators in which they both are eligible, you will be able to deduct up to $600, although each spouse, individually, can claim up to $300.

So, who and what qualifies?

The eligible educator is seen as anyone who is a teacher, instructor, counselor, principal, or aide at a school for kindergarten through 12th grade which can either be a public or private institution. Kiplinger. Further, you must work at least 900 hours during the school year.

When determining what may qualify, things begin to get a bit more confusing. Items used to protect against COVID-19 in a classroom will qualify as well as larger items that you may not think of such as air purifiers. Generally, though, if a school does not reimburse for the cost of books, supplies, and other classroom materials, that amount paid out of pocket can be deducted. This also includes computers and related software. Kiplinger. Surprisingly, the unreimbursed costs of professional development courses that are related to what you teach can also be deducted subject to the $300 deduction limit. Alternatively, has a lifetime learning credit that can help pay for these courses instead which can add up to $2,000.

Although the $300 is nowhere near where it needs to be to make a big impact on teachers, it is a step in the right direction to help educators. Some states are working to raise this credit to meet the higher average spent by teachers. Colorado lawmakers are proposing a $1,000 tax credit for teachers to buy classroom supplies. Opposers to the bill state that they want the bill to apply to unlicensed teachers as well as licensed ones. Other states that have begun, or are working on, similar legislation include Virginia (now up to a $500 credit), and previously, Missouri sought to pass a one-time $5,000 tax credit.

For more information, please reach out to the Professionals at The Center for Financial, Legal, & Tax Planning Inc., at 618-997-3436.


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