It’s time to file your income tax return for 2019. If you’re a teacher from K through twelve, or are an instructor, principal, teacher’s aid, or counselor with at least 900 hours within a school year, you’re eligible for certain Educator Expense Deductions. If you’re single and fall under the educator category, you can claim up to $250 in deductions for supplies, education materials, books, professional development supplies, computer software and equipment, as well as supplementary materials that you and your students use in the classroom throughout the school year. If you’re a physical education teacher, or provide instruction for Health and Education, the expense would fall under any athletic supplies or training materials that you’ve purchased – meaning (in the simplest of terms) if you buy additional whistles, soccer or footballs, baseball bats, or hockey pucks, those are write offs!
Now the perk if you’re married to a fellow educator? You can double that deduction and claim up to $500 in a taxable year, but each of you can only claim no more than $250 for the year.
Note that the IRS allows this deduction to be claimed on your return at the end of the year if you have not been reimbursed for the expenses by another party. Be sure you’re keeping track of all of your expenses and hold onto your receipts, because without them, the IRS may deny you the credit on your return! If you’re planning on claiming any of these purchased items, you’ll need Form 1040, Form 1040-Schedule 1, or Form 1040NR for your tax return. You’ll also need to remember to claim any of the reimbursements that you have received throughout the school year that haven’t been reported in Box 1 of your W-2 Form.
While this Educator Expense Deduction credit is meant to help taxpayers who have chosen the educator career path, those who qualify for the benefit will also have to take into consideration these three key points come tax season:
1) Any tax-free withdrawals from your Coverdell education savings accounts;
2) Interest gained on Series I U.S savings bonds and series EE that you’ve excluded from your income because of the prepaid higher qualified education expenses; and
3) Any given amount of funds from a qualified state tuition run program that you’ve excluded from your yearly income.
New rules and regulations for taxes can be tricky and sometimes frustrating to understand. Should you find yourself at your wits’ ends trying to decipher if you’re eligible for the Educator Expense Deduction credit, or if you’re unsure how to file the proper paperwork, give us a call at Law Offices of Christy Lee, P.C., and our trained staff will be more than happy to walk you through the process.