Topic 458 - Educator Expense Deduction

If you are an eligible educator, you can deduct up to $250 ($500 if married filing joint and both spouses are educators, but not more than $250 each) of any unreimbursed expenses (otherwise deductible as a trade or business expense). Qualified expenses are amounts you paid or incurred for books, supplies, computer equipment (including related software and services), other equipment, and supplementary materials that you use in the classroom. For courses in health and physical education, expenses for supplies are qualified expenses only if related to athletics. This deduction is for expenses paid or incurred during the tax year. You claim the deduction on line 23 of Form 1040 (PDF) or line 16 of Form 1040A (PDF).

You are an eligible educator if, for the tax year:

  • You are a kindergarten through grade 12:
    • Teacher
    • Instructor
    • Counselor
    • Principal, or
    • Aide, and
  • You work at least 900 hours a school year in a school that provides elementary or secondary education as determined under state law.

Qualified expenses are deductible only to the extent the amount of such expenses exceed the following amounts for the tax year:

  • The interest on qualified U.S. savings bonds that you excluded from income because you paid qualified higher education expenses,
  • Any distribution from a qualified tuition program that you excluded from income,
  • Any tax-free withdrawals from your Coverdell Education Savings Account, or
  • Any reimbursed expenses not reported to you on box 1 of your Form W-2 (PDF).

For additional information regarding educator expense deductions, see Publication 529, Miscellaneous Deductions, and Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax for Individuals.

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: May 27, 2015