Teachers Can Now Deduct COVID-19 Protective Items

Inform Your Educator Clients

Educators can now deduct out-of-pocket expenses for COVID-19 protective items.  This is merely an expansion of what can be deducted as Educator Expenses.  The previous financial limitations unfortunately still apply. 

One educator can deduct up to $250 per tax year for out-of-pocket expenses related to educating our nation’s young people.  The deduction maxes-out at $500 for the tax year on a return when two educators are legally married to each other. 

These are some of the deductible items:

  • Face Masks
  • Disinfectant for use against COVID-19
  • Hand Soap
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Disposable Gloves
  • Tape, Paint or Chalk to mark social distancing awareness
  • Physical Barriers (for example, clear plexiglass)
  • Air Purifiers

In addition, other items recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to be used for the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 qualify.

The new law clarifies that unreimbursed expenses paid or incurred after March 12, 2020, by eligible educators for protective items to stop the spread of COVID-19 qualify for the educator expense deduction.

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. This legislation was part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.

Most teachers spend significantly more on their students and classrooms than the meager $250 deduction provided by the IRS.  No matter what, this is important information for assisting all clients who are educators.  Educating our clients on new issues relating to them helps solidify our value as a tax professional.

The line item for the Educator Expense deduction is found on the IRS Form 1040, Schedule 1.  This adjustment to income is line item #10. 

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