Teachers – Out of Pocket Classroom Expenses Are Tax Deductible

Teachers and other educators can deduct up to $300 of out-of-pocket classroom expenses for 2023 when it comes time to file their federal income tax return.

An eligible educator can deduct up to $300 of qualifying expenses paid during the year. Two eligible educators that are married and filing a joint tax return can each deduct $300 of qualifying expenses paid during the year for a total deduction of up to $600 on a joint return.

Educators can claim this deduction even if they take the standard deduction. Eligible educators include anyone who is a kindergarten through grade 12 teacher, instructor, counselor, principal, or aide who worked in a school for at least 900 hours during the school year. Both public and private school educators qualify.

Educators can deduct the unreimbursed cost of:

  • Books, supplies, and other materials used in the classroom
  • Equipment, including computer equipment, software, and services
  • COVID-19 protective items to stop the spread of the disease in the classroom. This includes face masks; disinfectant for use against COVID-19; hand soap; hand sanitizer; disposable gloves; tape, paint, or chalk to guide social distancing; physical barriers, such as clear plexiglass; air purifiers; and other items recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Professional development courses related to the curriculum they teach or the students they teach. But the IRS cautions that, for these expenses, it may be more beneficial to claim another educational tax benefit, especially the lifetime learning credit. For details, see IRS Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education, particularly Chapter 3