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Tax Topic #458 2008 Tax Year

Topic 458 - Educator Expense Deduction

If you are an eligible educator, you can deduct up to $250 of your unreimbursed expenses [otherwise deductible trade or business expenses] you paid or incurred for books, supplies, computer equipment (including related software and services), other equipment, and supplementary materials that you use in the classroom. For courses in health and physical education, expenses for supplies are qualified expenses only if they are related to athletics. You can deduct these expenses even if you do not itemize deductions on Form 1040, Schedule A. This deduction is for expenses paid or incurred during the tax year. Previously, these expenses were deductible only as a miscellaneous itemized deduction subject to the 2% of adjusted gross income limit. The deduction is claimed on either line 23 of Form 1040 (PDF) or line 16 of Form 1040A (PDF).

You are an eligible educator if, for the tax year, you meet the following requirements:

  • You are a kindergarten through grade 12;
    • Teacher
    • Instructor
    • Counselor
    • Principal, or
    • Aide, and
  • You work at least 900 hours a school year in a school that provides elementary or secondary education, as determined under state law.

Qualified expenses are deductible only to the extent the amount of such expenses exceeds the following amounts for the tax year:

  • The interest on qualified U.S. savings bonds that you excluded from income because you paid qualified higher education expenses,
  • Any distribution from a qualified tuition program that you excluded from income, or
  • Any tax-free withdrawals from your Coverdell Education Savings Account.

For additional information regarding personal credits and any alternative minimum tax (AMT), refer to Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax.

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: December 22, 2008

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