Teachers and other educators (such as instructors, counselors, aides, principals) that work in a school for at least 900 hours during the school year and with grades kindergarten through grade 12 qualify for this deduction. Further, both public and private school educators qualify. Homeschooling costs do not qualify. Qualified individuals can deduct up to $300 of out-of-pocket classroom expenses that they paid during 2023. *If two educators are married and file a joint return, they can claim up to $600 in 2023.
This deduction increased in 2022 from $250 to $300. The limit remains at $300 for 2023 (but is evaluated annually and adjust for inflation).
Teachers and other educators can deduct the cost of any books, supplies, materials, equipment, and software used in the classroom that they pay for personally. They can also deduct protective items to stop the spread of disease in the room, such as hand soap / sanitizer, air purifiers, disposable gloves, and face masks. The other category that could be deducted is professional development courses related to the curriculum or students they teach (though education credits may be more beneficial if they apply to the continuing education). Good records, including receipts, should be kept with the tax return they are claimed on.
Almost all other employees stopped being able to claim expenses they pay for personally after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, so this deduction could easily be missed by an inexperienced tax preparer or when using a tax software to file yourself. If you didn’t max out this deduction already in the Spring 2023 portion of school, make sure to track your expenditures this fall.