As teachers and students prepare to return to school this fall, the Internal Revenue Service reminded educators of the increased expense deduction available in 2022. In IR-2022-148, the IRS noted, "As the new school year begins, the Internal Revenue Service reminds teachers and other educators that they will be able to deduct up to $300 of out-of-pocket classroom expenses for 2022 when they file their federal income tax return next year."
The educator expense deduction had been $250 for tax years from 2002 through 2021. However, it is now going to increase in $50 increments based on inflation. As a result, an educator in 2022 may deduct up to $300 of qualifying expenses. If two educators are married, the potential joint return deduction is up to $600. The educator deduction is available for kindergarten through grade 12 teachers, counselors, principals or school aides who work at least 900 hours during the school year.
The $300 deduction may include books, supplies and classroom materials. Equipment such as computers and software or COVID–19 protective items are also deductible.
In some cases, a teacher may apply the $300 deduction towards a professional development course. However, the IRS notes that other educational tax benefits, such as the Lifetime Learning Credit, may provide greater benefit to the teacher.
There are some items that are not permitted as deductions. The cost of home schooling and nonathletic supplies for courses in health or physical education are not deductible. The IRS reminds educators to keep good records. The deduction should be supported by a receipt, canceled check or other documentation.