Educator Expense Deduction Increased to Maximum of $300 for 2022

An Ethnic teacher is leading a class of elementary school children.
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The IRS allows teachers to claim the educator expenses deduction if they’ve paid for classroom supplies or other materials out of their own pockets during the tax year. Starting this year, educators will be able to better plan their expenses and take advantage of this above-the-line deduction when they file their 2022 taxes next April because the allowable deduction has increased $50 to a $300 maximum, according to an IRS news release Tuesday.

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This is the first annual limit increase since the educator expense deduction was enacted in 2002. This increase to $300 from $250 is for the 2022 tax year. For 2021 tax filing, due on April 18 (April 19 for Maine and Massachusetts residents), the limit will remain at $250. The limit will increase by $50 in future years to adjust for rising inflation rates.

You must be a teacher, aide, instructor, counselor or principal to qualify for the educator expense deduction, and you must have worked at least 900 hours during the school year in a school that’s certified by your state. The school can be a public, private, or religious institution. Only grade school and high school educators qualify. Expenses for homeschooling or nonathletic supplies for courses in health or physical education are NOT eligible.

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The eligible out-of-pocket expenses detailed by the IRS include the following:

  • Books, supplies and other materials used in the classroom.
  • Equipment, including computer equipment, software and services.
  • COVID-19 protective items to stop the spread of the disease in the classroom. This includes face masks, disinfectant 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 beneficial to claim another educational tax benefit, especially the lifetime learning credit. For details, see Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education, particularly Chapter 3.

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Expenses for homeschooling or nonathletic supplies for courses in health or physical education are not eligible. College educator out-of-pocket costs do not qualify for this deduction. As with all deduction filings, the IRS recommends keeping a good record and receipts of any expenses you plan on declaring in your tax return.

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About the Author

David Nadelle is a freelance editor and writer based in Ottawa, Canada. After working in the energy industry for 18 years, he decided to change careers in 2016 and concentrate full-time on all aspects of writing. He recently completed a technical communication diploma and holds previous university degrees in journalism, sociology and criminology. David has covered a wide variety of financial and lifestyle topics for numerous publications and has experience copywriting for the retail industry.
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