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Topic 458 - Educator Expense Deduction

If you're an eligible educator, you can deduct up to $250 ($500 if married filing jointly and both spouses are eligible educators, but not more than $250 each) of unreimbursed trade or business expenses. Qualified expenses are amounts you paid or incurred for participation in professional development courses, books, supplies, computer equipment (including related software and services), other equipment, and supplementary materials that you use in the classroom. For courses in health or physical education, the expenses for supplies must be for athletic supplies. 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're an eligible educator if, for the tax year you're a kindergarten through grade 12 teacher, instructor, counselor, principal or aide for 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 series EE and I U.S. savings bonds that you exclude from income because you paid qualified higher education expenses,
  • Any distribution from a qualified state tuition program that you exclude from income,
  • Any tax-free withdrawals from your Coverdell education savings accounts,
  • Any reimbursements you receive for expenses that aren't reported to you in box 1 of your Form W-2 (PDF).
  • If you had qualified expenses in excess of the amount that you can take as an adjustment to gross income, you can deduct them as an itemized deduction subject to the 2% limit on miscellaneous itemized deductions.

For additional information regarding the deduction for certain expenses of an eligible educator, see Publication 529, Miscellaneous Deductions, and Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax for Individuals.

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: December 30, 2016