IRS Quick Tip: Educator Expense Deduction


Did you know that as an educator you can get an extra tax deduction that the standard non-educator people can’t? Well, you can. Maybe the IRS is just giving you a special thanks for the work do.  Either way you are special in the eyes of the IRS. If you are an eligible educator, you can deduct up to $250 or $500 if married filing jointly for expenses that you incur related to your job as long as they are not reimbursed. The expenses can be anything from books, classroom equipment, school supplies, computer equipment and software, and other materials that you use for your classroom and job. Specifically for courses in health and physical education the expenses can be related to athletics.

The expenses need to be incurred in the tax year that you are filing for. So for your 2015 tax return (due by April of 2016) the expenses have to be incurred this year in 2015. This deduction is claimed on line 23 of the 1040.

Eligible educators include teachers, instructors, counselors, principals, and aids. Also you need to work at least 900 hours a school year that provides secondary or elementary education (as determined by State Law).

These expenses are only deductible to the extent that they exceed the following amounts in the same tax year.

  1. Interest on US Savings Bonds that you excluded from income because you paid higher education expenses.

  2. Distributions from a qualified tuition program that you excluded from income

  3.  Tax Free Withdrawals from your Coverdell Education Savings Account

  4. Any reimbursed expenses not reported in box 1 of your W2.

If you’re an educator and you want to make sure you are taking all the deductions you can give us a call or send an email to

Do I Really Need to Keep My Tax Return For 7 Years?

How to Handle Rollover From Retirement Plans