Teachers Can Write Off up to $300 in Expenses in 2022 — What Purchases Qualify?

An Ethnic teacher is leading a class of elementary school children.
FatCamera / Getty Images

The beginning of the new school year means most teachers will hit the stores to load up on various books, supplies and teaching materials. Those who do can deduct up to $300 of out-of-pocket classroom expenses for 2022 when they file their federal income tax return next year — an increase of $50 from the previous year.

Explore: Your Biggest Money Etiquette Questions Answered
Save More: Back-to-School Tips To Help You Cut Costs

This is the first year the annual limit has risen since the special educator expense deduction was enacted in 2002, according to the IRS. For tax years 2002 through 2021, the limit was $250 per year. The limit will rise in $50 increments in future years based on inflation adjustments.

For 2022, teachers and other eligible educators who file single returns can deduct up to $300 of qualifying expenses. If you are married and file a joint return with another eligible educator, the limit rises to $600, though you can’t deduct more than $300 for each spouse.

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

Make Your Money Work

You can deduct the unreimbursed cost of these items:

  • Books, supplies and other materials used in the classroom.
  • Equipment, including computer equipment, software and services.
  • COVID-19 protective items, including face masks, disinfectant, 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 CDC.
  • Professional development courses related to the curriculum you teach or the students you teach. However, for these expenses, it might make more sense to claim another educational tax benefit, such as the lifetime learning credit.

Take Our Poll: Do You Tip for Service?

Qualified expenses don’t include the cost of home schooling or nonathletic supplies for courses in health or physical education. The IRS recommends keeping thorough records, including receipts, canceled checks and other documentation.

If you are still working on your 2021 tax return due to an extension or other reason, the deduction limit is still $250. If you are married and file a joint return with another eligible educator, the limit rises to $500, though neither spouse can claim more than $250.

Make Your Money Work

More From GOBankingRates

Share This Article:

facebook sharing button
twitter sharing button
linkedin sharing button
email sharing button
Make Your Money Work

About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
Learn More


See Today's Best
Banking Offers