Teachers and other educators will be able to deduct up to $300 of out-of-pocket costs for their classrooms this upcoming school year – thanks to the first increase in 20 years.
The Internal Revenue Service announced that educators can deduct up to $300 for their classroom necessities when they file their federal income tax returns next year. It’s the first time the annual limit has increased since 2002, the IRS confirmed in a news release last week.
The previous limit was $250 annually. The ceiling is set to rise in $50 increments based on inflation, according to the IRS. The agency confirmed to USA TODAY that inflation adjustments are typically annual and apply to a slate of tax policies.
People eligible for the deduction include K-12 teachers, other instructors, counselors, principals or aides in a school for at least 900 hours during the school year. Educators may work at public or private schools, and they can deduct costs that haven’t been reimbursed for books, computer equipment, COVID-19 protective items such as hand soap and face masks and more.
Educators can still take the deduction if they take the standard deduction on their personal taxes. If an educator is married and files a joint return with another eligible educator, they are able to deduct up to $600, but not more than $300 for each person.
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Some states also offer deductions for teachers purchasing classroom materials and other essentials. For example, in Virginia, eligible educators may deduct up to $500 on their returns filed in 2023.
Although inflation has eased off historic levels, prices for essentials remain elevated across the country.
A recent survey from EdChoice found that about half of U.S. teachers under age 55 considered leaving the field in fall 2021. About 64% of teachers older than 55 considered retiring in fall 2021, with many citing feelings of being undervalued and underpaid.
High school teachers in the U.S. make a median salary of $61,820, as of 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Middle school teachers make a median salary of $61,320, while kindergarten and elementary school teachers make a median salary of $61,350 as of 2021. However, pay for teachers, administrators and other educators varies by state and region across the country.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Teachers paying for school supplies out of pocket could deduct more