IRS Gives Teachers Higher Deductions For School Supplies

For the first time in 20 years, the Internal Revenue Service has increased teacher deductions for school supplies.

By Erika Hanson | Published

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teacher deductions

Teachers have a lot of stress in their job. They often work extensive hours, long out of the classroom grading papers at home. They face crippling anxiety from running a classroom full of children during the day. And on top of everything else, they shell out plenty of their own cash to pay for classroom needs. But now, for the first time in two decades, the IRS is recognizing the added expenses and their growing price, allowing higher teacher deductions for school supplies on taxes.

For the first time in 20 years, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced they will be increasing teacher deduction limits for the amount of money educators spend out of pocket for materials in the classroom. According to NPR, teachers will now be able to deduct up to $300 on their 2022 taxes. This is a $50 increase from the longstanding $250 deduction that was first set in 2002. 

The new teacher deductions cover educators in both the public and private sectors of education, but not those who homeschool. Those eligible include teachers, principals, teachers’ aides, and counselors. They must work with children in grades Kindergarten through 12th, and they have to have worked at least 900 hours during the school year.

If a couple filing jointly both qualify for the teacher deduction, they can claim up to $600 on their 2022 taxes. However, the $300 per spouse limit will still need to be detailed within. Likewise, educators who claim a standard deduction on their taxes still will qualify for this. As for what expenses qualify, most unreimbursed supplies are covered, but for those unsure, the IRS has a guide on their site to help teachers. Products like books, computer equipment, and even COVID protective items count.

What’s more, the national tax collection agency announced that they will continue to raise the teacher deduction limit by $50 increments each year, based on inflation adjustment. This increase comes at a time when the nation is facing high prices of goods due to a sharp rise in national inflation. While the rate is beginning to level off a bit, levels hit a four-decade high in June, bringing national inflation up to 9.1%.

This increase in teacher deductions will affect nearly all teachers across the nation. After all, 94% of all educators end up spending their own money on classroom supplies according to a report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). However, many teachers are scoffing at the mere $50 hike. The amount most teachers spend on supplies has increased by more than 25% in the past eight years. Now, some spend more than $1,000 each year out of their own income.

teacher deductions

On top of the IRS teacher deductions, some states also offer their own deductions for classroom supplies in order to take more burden off the educators. Each state is different, and it is best for educators to check with their tax professionals first to see if they can qualify for additional deductions. In Virginia, for example, teachers will be able to deduct up to $500 on their 2023 tax returns.