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Educators Can Deduct Up to $300 in Out-of-Pocket Classroom Expenses in 2022

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For 2022, the maximum expense deduction eligible educators may take for qualifying out-of-pocket classroom expenses has increased to $300, even if they take the standard deduction. Educators who are married and file a joint return with another eligible educator can deduct up to $600 (but no more than $300 for each spouse).

This is the first time the educator expense deduction has increased since it was enacted in 2002, at $250. The IRS said the limit will rise in $50 increments in future years, based on inflation adjustments. However, note that, due to the way the inflation adjustment is computed, multiple years may pass before an increase occurs.

Eligible educators include anyone who is a kindergarten through grade 12 teacher, instructor, aide, counselor, or principal in a private or public school for at least 900 hours during the school year.

Qualified expenses include the unreimbursed cost of:

  • Books, supplies, and other classroom materials
  • Equipment, including computer equipment, software, and services
  • COVID-19 prevention items, including face masks, disinfectant, hand sanitizer, disposable gloves, air purifiers, etc.

The cost of professional development courses related to the curriculum or students the educator teaches is also considered a qualified expense; however, the IRS notes that it may be more beneficial to claim another educational tax benefit, such as the lifetime learning credit. See Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education, particularly Chapter 3.

Qualified expenses do not include:

  • Costs related to homeschooling
  • Expenses related to nonathletic supplies for courses in health or physical education

Note that the $300 maximum educator expense deduction is for 2022 tax returns. The $250 limit must be used for 2021 and prior tax returns.

Please contact us with any questions.

Ted Batson

Ted serves as partner, tax counsel, and Professional Practice Leader – Tax. As a certified public accountant and tax counsel, Ted advises exempt organizations of all sizes on a wide range of issues. This includes consulting on tax and employee benefit related matters, representation before state and federal tax authorities, and assistance with firm audit or advisory engagements to formulate advice and counsel on important operating and tax issues. Ted also leads the firm’s tax preparation practice, including IRS Forms 990 and 990-T and related state forms.

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