If you were an eligible educator, you may be able to deduct up to $250 of expenses you paid even if you do not itemize your deductions. An eligible educator is a kindergarten through grade 12 teacher, instructor, counselor, principal, or aide in a school for at least 900 hours during a school year. Qualified expenses include ordinary and necessary expenses paid in connection with books, supplies, equipment (including computer equipment, software, and services), and other materials used in the classroom. An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your educational field. A necessary expense is one that is helpful and appropriate for your profession as an educator. An expense does not have to be required to be considered necessary. Qualified expenses DO NOT include expenses for home schooling or for nonathletic supplies for courses in health or physical education. You must reduce your qualified expenses by the following amounts:
Excludable U.S. series EE and I savings bond interest from Form 8815.
Nontaxable qualified state tuition program earnings.
Nontaxable earnings from Coverdell education savings accounts.
Any reimbursements you received for these expenses that were not reported to you in box 1 of your Form W-2.
If you and your spouse are filing jointly and both of you were eligible educators, the maximum deduction is $500 on page 1 of the 1040. However, neither spouse may deduct more than $250 of his or her qualified expenses. If the educator expenses are more than $250 per taxpayer the excess can be deducted on Schedule A.
This information applies to all years of the UltimateTax software.