Tax Deductions for Educator, Teacher Expenses

If you are a teacher or educator, you can generally deduct unreimbursed school, trade or business expenses up to $250 on your tax return. If you and your spouse are both educators, teachers, etc. and your filing status is Married Filing Jointly, you might be eligible to deduct up to a maximum of $500.  If you wish to take this deduction, be sure and keep all receipts of purchases made that you wish to claim. You can easily claim the Educator or Teacher deduction when you prepare and efile your federal income taxes on eFile.com.

Eligible Educator

You are an eligible educator if you educate or teach at least 900 hours in a school year in a kindergarten or school that provides elementary or secondary education (as recognized under state law) through grade 12 as one of the following educator or teaching professions:

  • Principal
  • Counselor
  • Instructor
  • Teacher
  • Teacher's Aide

Qualified Educator or Teacher Expenses

The following expenses are considered deductible expenses: 

  • Paid or incurred fees for teaching materials (books, supplies, computer equipment, software, services, etc.)
  • Other equipment used in the classroom
  • Professional development course fees
  • Special equipment and supplementary materials used in the classroom
  • Health and physical education courses (only if they are related to athletics)

You will be asked about these expenses during the eFile.com tax interview, and then we will help you report them on the proper form(s). Therefore, you don't have to worry about exactly where to enter these deductions.

Exceptions to Qualified Educator Expenses

These expenses are only deductible to the extent that the amount of such expenses exceed the following amounts for the Tax Year:

  • The interest on qualified U.S. savings bonds excluded from income because of paid qualified higher education expenses
  • Any distribution from a qualified tuition program excluded from income
  • Any tax-free withdrawals from a Coverdell Education Savings Account
  • Any reimbursed expenses not reported on W-2, box 1

Learn more about other tax deductions you might qualify to claim on your tax return. 

Contact our eFile.com support team if you have any additional questions.