There’s good tax news for professionals in education. The IRS recently issued updated guidance on expense deductions for teachers and other education professionals under the COVID-related Tax Relief Act of 2020.
It confirms that if you purchased protective items to stop the spread of COVID-19 at your school, these items qualify under the educator expense deduction.
Here’s what you need to know right now.
The new law clarifies that unreimbursed expenses paid or incurred after March 12, 2020, by eligible educators for protective items to prevent the spread of COVID-19 qualify for the already-existing educator expense deduction. The deduction amount was not increased. Rather, what qualifies was expanded to include COVID-19 protective items.
Who is eligible?
Eligible educators include any individual who is a kindergarten through grade 12 teacher, instructor, counselor, principal, or aide in a school for at least 900 hours during a school year.
The COVID-19 protective items include, but are not limited to:
- Face masks
- Disinfectant for use against COVID-19
- Hand soap
- Hand sanitizer
- Disposable gloves
- Tape, paint, or chalk to guide social distancing
- Physical barriers (for example, clear Plexiglas)
- Air purifiers
- Other items recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to be used for the prevention of the spread of COVID-19.
The deduction rules permit eligible educators to deduct up to $250 of qualifying expenses per year ($500 if married filing jointly and both spouses are eligible educators, but not more than $250 each).
What to do next
If you meet the qualifications noted above, make sure you have your receipts for these COVID-19 protective items, are that they are correctly applied on federal and, if allowable, state returns.
I should note that I hope that you have filed your returns for this year by now. If you have not, and these deductions apply, please do not wait any longer to get your filings completed. Additionally, keep your 2021 receipts for next year’s tax returns.
As always, if there are any questions, please reach out to a tax professional so we can help you with your returns. Happy Teacher Appreciation Month!