Teacher Back to School Deductions

Weekly Tax Tip


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Teachers school supplies

The back-to-school advertising blitz is well underway, and the summer season is coming to an end. In addition to paying for school supplies, there are other things you can purchase to save money. Here are some methods you can use:

  • Be mindful of any non-cash classroom or school items that are requested on the supply list. While some supplies on the list are clearly intended for personal or home use (such as a pencil eraser or a ruler), other items on the list are often intended for school or classroom use (such as a box of pencils or even hand towels). Keep a folder or some other type of record so you can substantiate all non-cash school or classroom items in the event that you’re able to use them as a charitable contribution.
  • Raffle tickets, subscription drives and silent auctions are popular ways for schools to raise money. Don’t miss out on a potential prize by opting for raffles, subscription drives and silent auctions. Keep track of your donations by asking for a receipt.
  • Include your out-of-pocket expenses and mileage when remembering to account for volunteer activities. You might donate books to a school library, volunteer at school events, or help the teaching staff. In addition, track your charitable contributions to ensure deductions are claimed.
  • Teachers, save your out-of-pocket expenses. A recent survey found that 94 percent of teachers spend their own money on classroom supplies—some as much as $1,000 per school year. Teachers may deduct $300 on their 2022 tax return even if they claim the standard deduction, provided they spend their own money on classroom supplies. If you are married, you may deduct up to $600 in classroom supplies.
  • Make donations in the form of a check rather than cash. By doing so, you can prove you donated the money.

Reviewing state rules for educational expenses is also important. There may be credits available for out-of-pocket school and other educational expenses.

.For the tax year, 2022, the IRS has added several items that can be deducted and/or qualifies for the teachers classroom deduction. This addition is something new for teachers, and as long as they’re not reimbursed by the school district, it qualifies as a classroom expense.

Covid-19 expenses now qualify as an expense for the $300 deduction. That applies to masks mandated by the school district, hand sanitizer for the classroom, cleaning supplies used to keep germs at bay, and even air purifiers you purchased for your class.

Other pandemic-related items that can be applied to your $300 tax deduction for 2022 if you’re a teacher include:

  • Hand soap
  • Disposable gloves
  • Tape, paint or chalk to guide social distancing
  • Physical barriers, such as clear plexiglass

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