Tax deductions

Inflation raises tax deductions for teachers up to $300 for the first time

(Gray News) – Teachers and other educators will be able to deduct up to $300 in reimbursable class fees when they file their 2022 federal income tax returns next year.

The IRS reports that this is the first time the annual limit has increased since enacting the special educator expense deduction in 2002.

For tax years 2002 to 2021, the limit was $250 per year. For people currently filing their 2021 tax returns due in April, the deduction remains at $250.

According to the IRS, the limit will increase in $50 increments in future years based on adjustments for inflation.

For 2022, an eligible educator can deduct up to $300 of qualifying expenses. If they are married and file a joint return with another qualified educator, the limit increases to $600. But in this situation, no more than $300 for each spouse.

According to the agency, educators can claim this deduction even if they take the standard deduction. Eligible educators include anyone who is a kindergarten through high school teacher, instructor, counselor, principal, or assistant working at least 900 hours during the school year. Public and private school educators are eligible.

IRS Shared Educators may deduct the unreimbursed cost of the following:

  • Books, supplies and other materials used in the classroom.
  • Hardware, including hardware, software and services.
  • COVID-19 protective items to stop the spread of disease in the classroom. This includes face masks, sanitizer 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 (CDC).
  • Professional development courses related to the curriculum they teach or the students they teach. For these expenses, it may be more advantageous to claim another education tax benefit, such as the lifetime education credit.

According to the IRS, qualifying expenses do not include costs for home schooling or non-athletic supplies for health or physical education classes. As with all deductions and credits, the agency reminds educators to keep good records, including receipts, canceled checks and other documents.

With the 2021 tax deadline fast approaching, the IRS said educators still working on their returns can claim all eligible expenses here.

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