Tax deduction for school supplies

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Mrs.Giggles, Jul 6, 2013.

  1. Mrs.Giggles

    Mrs.Giggles Companion

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    I apologize if I come off silly asking this question, but I had heard that teachers receive some kind of tax deduction in regards to supplies that they purchase for their classroom. Is this correct?

    Also, if a deduction can be received, would it be a credit or would it be itemized? Currently, I am saving my receipts as I don't want anything to bite me in the butt during tax season.
     
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  3. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Someone will be along with the exact answer. However, I want to say you can only write off up to 250$.
     
  4. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    I think Pashtun is correct.
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Yes, I think it's a max of $250. I also think that it must be itemized, although I'm not entirely sure about that.
     
  6. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    I could be wrong, and hope I am, but I think I heard the tax credit expired in 2012?
     
  7. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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  8. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    You can deduct up to $250 educators credit. That's available for those who don't itemize. I use it since I take the standard deduction.

    You can deduct more than $250 in work expenses, but only if you itemize.

    It is available 2002-2013. It was extended last year.
     
  9. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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  10. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    My accountant does it for me. :D
     
  11. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    My understanding is that you can deduct it, but it only comes off your total taxable income for the year. It's not like you automatically get a $250 refund which is what I thought would happen. I have always claimed it but it essentially makes no difference. I don't itemize because I don't own a house.
     
  12. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Ummm, I am definitely NOT a tax expert, but I have a friend who is (CPA). He suggested that, in addition to the $250, I keep my receipts and claim them as "unreimbursed employee expenses." As long as I could prove that the items were for use in my job alone (and I can), then I'm covered.
     
  13. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Lucky! We don't get an educator's tax deduction in Canada:(
     
  14. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    One year it was enough to put me in a lower tax bracket, and it DID make a difference.
     
  15. HistTchr

    HistTchr Habitué

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    This is what I have done the past few years, too. I never even thought of it until one of my colleagues was talking about it at lunch one day.
     
  16. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    I'm glad it was extended! It's not a lot, but every penny helps.
     
  17. Mrs.Giggles

    Mrs.Giggles Companion

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    Thank you! It seems like I may have came into the field one year too late. :) Please know that I am truly kidding when I say that.

    The way that I had heard it before was that it was going to be an extra $250 added to my refund, but I am happy that I now know that it only decreases my taxable income. However, 40 extra dollars is still 40 extra dollars.

    Normally I just do my taxes using a software program, but I think next year I will be going to a professional.
     
  18. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I do my own taxes. I do know that all teachers whether you take the standard deduction or itemize your deductions can take up to $250 as a tax deduction. It is on line 23 on the 1040 form.

    pwhatley, you are correct in keeping your receipts. You can only deduct what you can show that you spent of your own money on your classroom. If a teacher only spends $200 of his/her money on education expenses then he/she can only deduct that amount.
     
  19. Ted

    Ted Habitué

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    Of course, keeping in mind that if you get reimbursed for any of those receipts (for example, from a PTO, etc.) then you can't claim them as expenses. :)
     
  20. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    LOL! Of course, in that case, I'm VERY fortunate, because the teachers ARE our PTA, and they reimburse us for nothing! LOL

    I will say that I spend a TON of money on my classroom, and (we itemize) it comes to a sizeable deduction using unreimbursed business expenses. Don't forget that union dues are deductable, as well as magazine and online subscriptions!
     
  21. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    You only get the $250 if you itemize. You may think you are getting the $250 because you wrote it down but it does not count if you take the standard deduction.
     
  22. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    That is not true. Actually you still can get the $250 even if you take the standard deduction. It is on line 23 of the 1040 form. For example if you have income of $40,250. You can subtract $250 on line 23 making your Adjusted Gross Income $40,000. Then on line 40 you are free to take the full standard deduction (example: $11,900--married filing jointly). This then deducts what you pay taxes on ($40,000-$11,900) to $28,100.
     
  23. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Nope. I have itemized twice (huge medical bills those years) in nearly 30 years of filing taxes. I have taken the $250 educator credit every time it has been available. It's in an entirely different place than deductions.
     
  24. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    While $63 won't make or break my financial situation, I think it is only smart to save a little anywhere I can. I pay as much as possible (insurances & investments) with pre-tax money. I have my withholding so that I come close to breaking even every year on taxes. My friends are thrilled with their huge refunds. Ummmmm . . . it was their money all along.
     
  25. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    When you use the free file computer software approved by the government to enter the info it tells you what it is using. It tells you that you are better off taking the standardized deduction than using the $250 deduction. You can write anything you want on a paper form. Or enter it on the computer (it doesn't mean it's actually being used)

    I listen to people on forums and in person tell me they deducted the sales tax from their cars on their taxes. Despite this not being allowed anymore. Just because you write something on a form or find a place to enter it in the software doesn't mean it actually accomplishes anything or is allowed.

    Granted, I suppose the software could be wrong, but I'm willing to bet its creators had much more tax training than any of us.
     
  26. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    My mom taught me how to work my taxes on paper when I was a teen. Yes, I do use the TurboTax program now, but I'm not blindly answering questions and placing my trust in the computer. I know WHY I enter things.

    The education deduction is NOT part of the itemized deductions. :beatdeadhorse:

    Tax Breaks for People Who Don't Itemize

    The article is from 2004, but still relevant. I use the educator expenses and IRA ones every year.
     
  27. SportsFanTr

    SportsFanTr Companion

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    Hi Always,

    I too must tell you that you are incorrect. I do this not to be rude, but so that hopefully you can understand and not spread incorrect information to others. I have worked at and taught classes at the largest tax prep firm in the U.S. for 6 years. I train new tax professionals how to do taxes (first by hand, then in the software program).

    The $250 deduction is a flat deduction no matter how you file. I have not used TurboTax in awhile, so I do not know exactly where you enter it in their program, but as someone else mentioned it goes on Line 23 on the 1040 or Line 16 of the 1040A. (Google 1040 or 1040a and look at the form, it will help you see). If you spent $300, you claim $250 here. If you spent $200, you claim $200 here. It gets taken off of your taxable income. It's a very similar deduction to the Student Loan Interest deduction, they both get taken off your income so that you have lower adjusted gross income (agi). You want your agi as low as possible, so that you pay less taxes/get higher refund.

    Now, the itemized deductions are a little trickier. I'm going to pretend you are married, because I know the numbers more easily. In order to itemize deductions, you need over $11,900 of expenses such as mortgage interest, state taxes paid, medical expenses (over 6% of your adjusted gross income), and miscellaneous job expenses (over 2.5% of your agi).


    So, example time:

    Married couple: each spouse makes $30,000: $60,000 total.
    Husband teaches: -$250 (She spent $1200 on her classroom)
    Wife claims student loan interest: $700.

    $60000 - $250 - $700 = $59,100 Adjusted Gross Income (agi)
    Couple wants to Itemize:
    • $8000 mortgage interest
    • $550 state tax paid (in PRIOR year)
    • $7000 medical expenses paid (BUT can only claim $3,158 which is $7000 - $3842 [6% of 59,100])
    • $950 educator expenses and $600 union dues (BUT can only claim $72 :( which is $1550 - $1478 [2.5% of 59,100])

    $8000 + $550 + $3158 + $72 = $11,780; however, the standard deduction is $11,900 so you're better off not itemizing at all and just taking what the government gives you. The original $250 has been already taken off to get that AGI we were working with, but the extra $950 and $500 of union dues goes to waste, so to speak. In this case, I would work my behind off to find some more hidden expenses, but hopefully you get the picture.

     
  28. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    Willing to admit I am wrong, but I'm telling you that when you enter it through the turbo tax free federal edition, there is a specific section that you check off for the tax deduction. When you finish the process it says it is running a check to see what is best for you. It then says your best option is to go with the standard deduction. It does not, or at least in my case, lower the taxable income by $250.

    This is despite me googling after reading what you guys said and finding a turbo tax article basically saying you are right and I am wrong. I must have entered something incorrectly, or I might just pretend that it was a conspiracy on the part of turbo tax to deprive me of the satisfaction of my $250 deduction no where near covering the $1500 I spent last year.
     
  29. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    You have serious control issues. What's with needing the last word? I am glad you are not reading this, because you seem very strange when you end your posts this way. It actually creeps me out a little.
     
  30. sevenplus

    sevenplus Connoisseur

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    Just to be clear (and I think everyone agrees at least on this point): The $250 is a deduction, not a credit.

    A deduction you subtract from your taxable income.
    A credit you subtract from the tax you owe.
     

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