Too often, teachers work behind the scenes, spending their free time and their own money to help their students get the best classroom experience possible. Because, as we all know, a good experience in the classroom can make students more willing to learn.
What not everyone realizes, however, is that teachers are sometimes able to deduct expenses such as classroom supplies and other qualified expenses. We love teachers at Foothill. That’s why we’ve created a list of potential deductions with authoritative links to let educators know how they may be able to take advantage of tax breaks.
Of course, as a credit union, we know that no two members are alike. Everyone is an individual with specific circumstances, goals, and financial situations. That’s why it’s important to know we’re not giving tax advice! If you’re considering deducting some business expenses, you should consult with a tax advisor.
EDUCATOR EXPENSE DEDUCTION
Eligible educators can deduct up to $250 of qualified expenses. For married teachers where each spouse is an eligible educator, a deduction of up to $500 ($250 each) is possible.
According to the IRS, to be an eligible educator for the tax year, you must be a K-12 instructor, counselor, principal, or aide who worked a minimum of 900 hours during a school year in an elementary or secondary education institution according to your state’s laws.
Among the items you can include when you claim the educator expense deduction are COVID-19 mitigation measures. This teacher tax deduction includes things such as face masks, cleaning supplies, air purifiers, and hand sanitizers. Please note, however, that claiming pandemic supplies will not bump up the total amount of your reimbursement.
Additionally, for the 2021 tax year, if you’re a teacher who pays taxes in the state of California, you may be able to deduct your home office expenses that you needed for teaching remotely during the 2020-2021 school year.
California is one of only a few states that lets employees deduct portions of a home office, whereas other states only let independent contractors do it. If you aren’t a California state resident, check with your state to see what the rules are that pertain to you and your situation.
LIFETIME LEARNING CREDIT
Also known as the LLC, this income tax deduction lets educators claim up to $2,000 per tax return for professional development courses and higher education courses and degrees.
Please note that there are eligibility requirements as to the type of institution and enrollment. Find out more here.
In addition to your day job, if you’ve been tutoring on the side, whether working in-person or remotely, you may be able to deduct some of your expenses for that work.
Your tutoring work may mean you’re considered self-employed for tax purposes so it’s important to talk to a tax advisor to determine your tax status and figure out any potential deductions.
Teaching isn’t the only thing that can make you eligible for tax deductions. Other off-duty activities can be eligible for claiming on your taxes as well.
You can deduct your contributions to charity. If you’ve supported any community organizations in the past tax year, chances are they qualify for a tax deduction. There are different eligibility requirements so check them out.
FOOTHILL HELPS TEACHERS WITH TEACHER TAX DEDUCTIONS AND MORE!
These are some of the ways you as an educator can enjoy extra savings when tax time comes around. Remember to consult with a tax advisor to find out specifically what is possible for you.
In addition to any tax credits you may be eligible for, as a teacher, you have plenty of resources available to you through Foothill CU. We’re proud to offer a range of school employee benefits to help you make the most of your classroom.
Whether it’s money off on your purchase of a new home, savings accounts to give you some extra cash during summer break, loans for supplies or continuing education, or scholarships, we’re here to help! We also offer unique educational opportunities for your students in the form of financial literacy seminars and enrichment activities.
Want to know more about the products and services available to you through Foothill? If you belong to a school district or educational institution in one of our Select Employment Groups, you may be eligible to take advantage of our support for teachers and educators.
Learn More About Our Programs to Support Our Teacher/Educator Members
*Foothill is not affiliated with any of the organizations mentioned.