IRS Reminds Educators of Tax Benefits
teachers, administrators and aides have launched into their
fall semester, taxes may not be on the top of their list.
However, knowing what to keep track of now can help reduce the
burden at tax time. The Internal Revenue Service reminds
educators that there are three key work-related tax benefits
that may help them reduce what they pay in taxes.
Educators can take advantage of tax deductions for qualified
expenses related to their profession. The costs many educators
incur out-of-pocket include items such as classroom supplies,
training and travel.
There are two methods educators can choose for deducting
qualified expenses: Claiming the Educator Expense Deduction
(up to $250) or, for those who itemize their deductions,
claiming eligible work-related expenses as a miscellaneous
deduction on Schedule A.
A third key benefit enables many teachers and other educators
to take advantage of various education tax benefits for their
ongoing educational pursuits, especially the Lifetime Learning
Credit or, in some instances depending on their circumstances,
the American Opportunity Tax Credit.
Educators can deduct up to $250 ($500 if married filing
jointly and both spouses are eligible educators, but not more
than $250 each) of unreimbursed business expenses. The
educator expense deduction, claimed on either Form 1040 Line
23 or Form 1040A Line 16, is available even if an educator
doesn't itemize their deductions. To do so, the taxpayer must
be a kindergarten through grade 12 teacher, instructor,
counselor, principal or aide for at least 900 hours a school
year in a school that provides elementary or secondary
education as determined under state law.
Those who qualify can deduct costs like books, supplies,
computer equipment and software, classroom equipment and
supplementary materials used in the classroom. Expenses for
participation in professional development courses are also
deductible. Athletic supplies qualify if used for courses in
health or physical education.
Deductions (Using Schedule A)
Often educators have qualifying classroom and professional
development expenses that exceed the $250 limit. In that case,
the IRS encourages them to claim these excess expenses as a
miscellaneous deduction on Schedule A (Form 1040 or Form
1040NR). In addition, educators can claim other work-related
expenses, such as the cost of subscriptions to professional
journals, professional licenses and union dues.
Transportation expenses may also
be deductible in situations such as, for example, where an
educator assigned to teach at two different schools needs to
drive from one school to the other on the same day.
Miscellaneous deductions of this kind are subject to a
This means that a taxpayer must
subtract two percent of their adjusted gross income from the
total qualifying miscellaneous deduction amount. For more
information, see Publication 529, Miscellaneous Deductions,
available on IRS.gov.
Educators should keep detailed records of qualifying expenses
noting the date, amount and purpose of each purchase. This
will help prevent a missed deduction at tax time.
Taxpayers should also keep a copy of their tax return for at
least three years. Copies of tax returns may be needed for
many reasons. If applying for college financial aid, a tax
transcript may be all that is needed. A tax transcript
summarizes return information and includes adjusted gross
income. Get one from the IRS for free.
The quickest way to get a copy of a tax transcript is to use
the Get Transcript application. After verifying identity,
taxpayers can view and print their transcript immediately
online. The online application includes a robust identity
verification process. Those who can't pass the verification
must request the transcript be mailed. This takes five to 10
days, so plan ahead and request the transcript early.
Feel free to give us a call if you have a question about this
particular topic or issue or if you
need help or want to
get started on tax planning for the rest of 2017 and
2018! If you have comments on the information in these
articles, as usual feel free to call our offices.
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