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How to Deduct Education Materials as a Teacher

Deduct Education Materials as a Teacher


Keep track of your receipts. Put receipts for items such as books, school supplies, computer equipment and software in a folder for safekeeping. Note the date, amount and purpose of each purchase.


Total your receipts. You are allowed to claim $250 worth of expenses. If your spouse is also a teacher, you can claim a total of $500 of expenses on a joint return.


Check to make sure the expenses you want to deduct are more than the interest on U.S. savings bonds you are excluding from income because you paid qualified higher education expenses, a distribution from a tuition program you are excluding from income or any tax-free withdrawals from a Coverdell Education Savings account. If they are not, your expenses are not deductible.


Prepare your tax return. List the total of the expenses of your materials (up to the limit) on Form 1040, line 23.


Write "E" on the dotted line next to the amount you are claiming. Line 23 is also used to claim a deduction for Archer Medical Savings Accounts, so if you are claiming both as deductions, write "B" on the dotted line and attach a breakdown listing the expenses claimed for both deductions.


File an amended tax return (Form 1040X) if you didn't claim this deduction during the previous 3 years and you were entitled to. Amended tax returns must be filed within 3 years from the due date of the return to claim a refund.


Mail your return to the Internal Revenue Service Center that services your area (see Resources below).


E-file your return. Visit the IRS website (see Resources below).

Tips and Warnings

  • You can only claim these expenses on Form 1040. You cannot take this deduction if you are filing Form 1040A.
  • Only kindergarten through grade 12 teachers and educators who worked at least 900 hours during the school year are eligible. Preschool teachers cannot claim this deduction.
  • If you teach health or physical education courses, only athletic equipment is deductible.

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