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The Out-Of-Pocket Educator Expense Deduction


With the new school year officially underway, educators should start thinking about the tax deductions for which they might be eligible. For 2022, for example, qualifying educators can deduct up to $300 of out-of-pocket classroom expenses when they file their returns. This is a welcome change for many educators, as this is the first time that the annual limit has increased in nearly 20 years. To learn more about the out-of-pocket educator expense deduction, or another deduction for which you may qualify, consider reaching out to an experienced tax return preparation lawyer today.

What is a Deductible Out-of-Pocket Educator Expense?

With this deduction, qualifying educators can deduct the unreimbursed cost of a wide range of expenses, including:

  • Books, supplies, and materials used in the classroom;
  • Equipment, including computer equipment and software;
  • COVID-19 protective items, such as face masks, disinfectant, hand soap, hand sanitizer, disposable gloves, tape and chalk to guide social distancing practice, physical barriers, like plexiglass, and air purifiers; and
  • Curriculum or student-related professional development courses.

The cost of home school or expenses related to obtaining non athletic supplies for physical education or health classes are not covered by this deduction. To help when claiming the deduction, educators should be sure to keep good records of their expenses, including receipts and other documentation, which may be necessary to provide proof of an expense in the event of an audit.

Qualifying for the Educator Deduction

Educators can claim the out-of-pocket expense deduction, regardless of whether or not they also claimed the standard deduction. Eligible educators include those who act as teachers, instructors, counselors, principals, and aides for students in kindergarten through grade 12 for at least 900 hours during the school year. Public and private school educators both qualify for this deduction.

Educator Out-of-Pocket Expense Deduction Limits

This year, the limits for deductible out-of-pocket expenses for teachers was increased from $250 to $300, the first time the amount has been increased since 2002. For those who are married and who file a joint return with another eligible educator, the limit has increased to $600. This limit is set to increase in $50 increments in future years based on inflation. It’s important for educators who have received a tax filing extension, or who have not yet filed their 2021 returns, to remember that, when claiming the educator deduction for that year, the limit is still $250, or $500 for jointly filing married educators.

Trusted, Professional Legal Representation and Tax Assistance

Contending with our many tax obligations can be confusing and often leaves taxpayers forgetting that they also often qualify for a number of tax benefits, including deductions and credits. Former FBI Special Agent, CPA, and Florida tax return preparation lawyer Ronald Cutler, P.A. has over 40 years of experience helping taxpayers assert and protect their legal rights and interests. For an evaluation of your own tax situation, call us at 386-490-9949 and set up a free one-on-one consultation today.