It’s back to school season, which is also a good time to remind teachers, principals, and other educators about the educator expense deduction which they may be eligible for. If you are an educator, you may be able to deduct up to $300 of out-of-pocket classroom expenses for 2023 when you file your federal income tax return next year.
This is the same limit that applied in 2022, the first year this provision became subject to inflation adjustment. Before that, the limit was $250. The limit will rise in $50 increments in future years based on inflation adjustments.
This means that you may be able to deduct up to $300 of qualifying expenses paid during the year. If you’re married and file a joint return with another eligible educator, the limit rises to $600. But in this situation, not more than $300 for each spouse.
If you’re an eligible educator, you can claim this deduction even if you take the standard deduction. Eligible educators include anyone who is a kindergarten through grade 12 teacher, instructor, counselor, principal or aide who worked in a school for at least 900 hours during the school year. Both public and private school educators qualify.
Educators can deduct the unreimbursed cost of:
- 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.
- Professional development courses related to the curriculum they teach or the students they teach.
Qualified expenses don’t include the cost of home schooling or for nonathletic supplies for courses in health or physical education. As with all deductions and credits, be sure to keep good records, including receipts, cancelled checks and other documentation.