Educator Expenses: A Bit of Good News
The IRS increased the expense deduction for teachers by $50! While this is not earth shattering, at least it is a step in the right direction. We like to share good news whenever we can.
The Basics of Teacher Tax Deductions
Teachers and other educators may now deduct up to $300 of out-of-pocket classroom expenses for 2022 when they file their income tax returns. This is the first time the annual limit has increased since the educator expense deduction was enacted in 2002. The limit was previously $250 per year.
If two teachers are married to each other and they file a joint tax return, the limit rises to $600. However, the deduction is still limited to $300 for each spouse.
Educator tax deductions are available regardless of whether the teacher itemizes or takes the standard deduction.
Who May Claim the Education Expense Tax Deduction on Their Tax Returns?
Only eligible educators may benefit from the education expense tax deduction on their tax returns. This includes:
- Teachers (kindergarten through grade 12)
- Aides in a school for at least 900 hours during the school year.
Both public and private school educators qualify for the expense deduction for teachers.
What are Educator Expenses?
Educators can deduct the unreimbursed cost of qualified educator expenses. These are:
- Books, supplies and other materials used in the classroom.
- Equipment, including computer equipment, software and services.
- COVID-19 protective items to stop the spread of the disease in the classroom. This includes face masks, disinfectant for use against COVID-19, hand soap, hand sanitizer, disposable gloves, tape, paint or chalk to guide social distancing, physical barriers, such as clear plexiglass, air purifiers, and other items recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Continuing education courses related to the curriculum they teach or the students they teach. However, teachers should consider applying fees for courses to the lifetime learning credit for a better result.
Qualified expenses do not include the cost of home schooling. Also, nonathletic supplies for courses in health or physical education do not qualify.
A Few Final Pointers about Taxes for Teachers
As with all deductions and credits, keep good records of the tax breaks for educators, including receipts, cancelled checks and other documentation. This will be your proof in case the IRS ever comes looking.
For those who received a tax filing extension or still need to file a 2021 tax return, the deduction limit remains at $250. If eligible teachers are married to each other and file a joint return, the limit rises to $500. However, no more than $250 may be claimed for each spouse.
Taxpayers who requested more time to file a 2021 tax return have until October, 17, 2022 to file their returns with the IRS. Nevertheless, it is best to file tax returns as soon as possible to avoid processing delays.
Be sure to file tax returns by the deadline. Late returns are subject to interest and penalties, which can be painful. If taxes need to be paid with the tax return, it is better to file a return without a tax payment than not file at all.
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Massey and Company CPA is a boutique accounting firm serving individuals and small businesses in Georgia, Illinois and throughout the country. Our services include tax return preparation and planning for businesses and individuals, IRS tax problem resolution, IRS audits, and small business accounting and bookkeeping.