Top 5 Tax Deductions Every Teacher Should Know 2023

“The Only Two Certainties In Life Are Death And Taxes.”  This famous Benjamin Franklin quote, popularized by Mark Twain, stands the test  of time.

We all must pay our fair share but there are certain deductions teachers are entitled to – and every teacher needs to know them.  Expense limits for last year (2022) have changed so even if you have expensed items in the past you need to ready this.

Are You Qualified?  It’s simple.  You only need to say yes to these two questions.

  1. You worked as a teacher, instructor, counselor, principal or aide for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. (Yes or No)
  2. You worked at least 900 hours at a school certified by a state to provide elementary or secondary education. This applies to public, private, and religious schools. (Yes or No)

In addition to other write-offs and itemized deductions all taxpayers have, ThinkFives researched the tax code and tax resources to identify these Top 5 Teacher Tax Deductions.

COVID-19 Related Expenses

COVID-19 Related Expenses

For 2021, personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitizer, plexiglass, and disinfectant used to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are allowed as deductions under the Educator Expense Deduction (you’ll hear more about that shortly).

As a teacher, you may deduct costs for buying these types of protective resources for the school year.  Just keep your receipts and read below to find out where to claim these.

The Lifetime Learning Credit

The Lifetime Learning Credit covers 20% of education expenses up to $10,000, or a maximum credit of $2,000. This is a credit, so it’s taken off your tax liability dollar for dollar. 

The great aspect of this tax credit is that it is not limited to undergraduate education, nor do you have to be pursuing a degree.  Educators may make use of this for their own career development or for pursuing a Master’s Degree.

If you are paying out of  pocket for classes to improve your job skills, whether that be at school or online, you can take advantage of the Lifetime Learning Credit. You can include the cost of tuition, fees and any books or supplies you are required to purchase directly from the school, so long as it’s a condition of enrollment. This can be worth up to $2,000 per year.

Charitable Donations Deduction

Charitable Donations Deduction

Teachers often support the work of their school or other educational charities.  You’ll be happy to know that those donations are eligible for the Charitable Donations Deduction.

As in past years, teachers (and all taxpayers) can deduct up to $300 for donations to a qualified public charity (501(c)(3)) even if you don’t itemize. Married couples filing jointly can deduct $600. This enables you to reduce your adjusted gross income (AGI).

Make sure that you have good records and are working with school administrators or the principal to get the appropriate records to support the claim.

State Deductions for a Home Office

According to TurboTax, teachers who have been working remotely can write off a home office due to virtual teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Note that this does not apply at the federal level.

State Deductions for a Home Office

However, if you live in one of the 7 states that opted to keep their own version of this tax benefit, you are in luck. The following states will provide a deduction on their respective state income tax returns:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Hawaii
  • Minnesota
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania

According to TurboTax, “The deduction will be available on state taxes only as a miscellaneous itemized deduction, if you exceed the standard deduction limit. Remember that in order to deduct home office expenses, you must have a dedicated space that you use exclusively for your job. For example, if you work at your kitchen table, it will not qualify.”

Educator Expense Deduction

Educator Expense Deduction

#1 on our list of the top tax deductions for teachers is the Educator Expense Deduction.  For this year’s filing (tax year 2022), teachers can deduct up to $300 of classroom expenses if you haven’t received reimbursement for them from your school, PTA or another association. Two married teachers can take $600.

What’s great about this deduction is that you can claim it regardless of whether you take the standard deduction or itemize their tax deductions.

What’s Included?

  • books
  • school supplies
  • computer equipment (webcams, headset) and software
  • athletic equipment for physical education teachers
  • any purchased item that is helpful to the students and classroom

This is a deduction every qualified teacher needs to take.  Studies have shown that the average teacher spends over $600 a year out of their own pocket.  This will not cover everything but it will help!



Do you have any tax tips for fellow teachers?


  1. I take the $250 deduction, but it sadly touches the amount of money I put into my classroom and students. 😢

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