What is an Educator Expenses Deduction?

The educator expenses deduction is an IRS deduction that allows teachers to exclude out-of-pocket teaching expenses from income.

How Does an Educator Expenses Deduction Work?

In order to qualify for the educator expenses deduction, a person must have worked at least 900 hours in an elementary or secondary school during a given school year. Accordingly, teachers aren't the only people entitled to the deduction; counselors, principals and other staff members may qualify. College educators do not qualify.

Qualified taxpayers can deduct up to $250 per person of unreimbursed teaching expenses. This typically includes books, supplies, equipment or other teaching materials used in the classroom. Coaches and PE instructors can also deduct athletic equipment and expenses.

Why Does an Educator Expenses Deduction Matter?

The educator expenses deduction is intended to be a tax break. Many deductions have to be at least 2% of a person's adjusted gross income; however, the educator expenses deduction does not have a 2% minimum. It is important to note that other deductions can offset what a teacher can deduct. For instance, if the teacher receives tuition reimbursement from a qualified tuition program or taxes any tax-free withdrawals from a Coverdell Education Savings Account, the teacher may only be able to deduct the amount of educator expenses that exceed the amount of those distributions.

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