With teachers headed back to school, we thought that it might be a good time to share some teacher-specific tax tips:
As an educator (defined as: teachers, counselors, principals, or aides who work at least 900 hours during a school year) in the K-12 capacity, you can automatically deduct up to $250 that you spend for your classrooms with no limitation on your Federal return.
In addition, you can take a $100 credit on your Indiana return.
Of course, your need to actually spend your own money and have receipts to back it up in order to get this or any deduction.
If you spend quite a bit more than $250 for your classroom, then your might get an additional deduction if your itemize your tax return. What is “quite a bit”? “Quite a bit” is generally $1,000 to $2,000 depending on your situation and the income of your family. That seems like alot of money, but once you consider that work-related mileage (at 54 cents/mile) and the work-related percentage of your cell phone bills count, then you might be closer than you think. Keep track of all of your mileage related to purchasing supplies, going to an after-school activity that is away from your school, driving to a student’s home, etc. The only miles that don’t count are the miles related to commuting back and forth from your home to your school.
Coaching a sport or leading an after-school activity can also create deductions. You should track your mileage to and from the location where the activities are held (…if the activities are not held at the same school where you regularly teach) as well as any equipment or supplies that you purchase for the activity.
Once you get to the end of the year, add up all of those miles and receipts and see where you stand. You might get some benefit from all of that recordkeeping!