School is Starting! Educators, Keep Track of Your Expenses for Tax Deductions!


Starting school can not only costly for students, but many teachers and aide also incur extra costs as they purchase extra supplies for the classroom. There is a special tax deduction for educators that allows a teacher, counselor, principal, or aide to deduct up to $250 of these expenses. 

This is even more valuable since it is allowed even if they do not itemize. With the change last year from the tax reform act that increased the standard deduction to $12,000 for singles and $24,000 for couples as well as eliminating the miscellaneous deduction for job related expenses, less and less people are finding it advantageous to itemize.

How this deduction works is the taxpayer must be a teacher, principal, counselor or aide that works at least 900 hours during the school year in grades kindergarten to 12 at a school that provides elementary or secondary education as determined by state law.

Those who qualify can deduct the cost of books, supplies, computer equipment and software, classroom equipment, and secondary materials used in the classroom. Expenses for participation in professional development courses are also deductible. Athletic supplies qualify if used for courses in health or physical education.

If both spouses are eligible educators and file a joint return, they can deduct up to $500, but no more than $250 each.

As usual, the taxpayer needs to keep good records and receipts of the expenses that they are taking as a deduction, including the date, amount and the purpose of the expenditure. These detailed records will help keep track of the deduction and make it easy at tax time to turn over to your tax advisor.

By keeping track of these expenses, it can help reduce that tax bill next spring and put a little of the money spent back in your pocket!


Kathi Koenig, CPA
Partner – McGowen Hurst Clark Smith
p. 515.288.3279


A little more about us:
Located in West Des Moines, Iowa with a branch office in Winterset, Iowa, McGowen Hurst Clark Smith (MHCS) celebrates 70 years of extending excellent service to our clients, providing them with accounting, auditing, consulting and financial planning expertise.

Established in 1946, our staff has grown from 3 to 60 employees, making us large enough to provide our clients with a broad base of experience and resources, yet small enough to offer very personalized service—which we feel makes us stand apart from other CPA firms. In addition to the traditional services of Accounting, Tax Preparation, Audit and Business Consulting, MHC&S offers our clients specialized services including Estate Planning, Business Valuations, Cost Segregation Studies, Retirement Planning, QuickBooks Training, Financial Advisory Services, Fraud Detection and Deterrence, Business Succession Planning, Litigation Support and more.

MHCS is a member of CPAmerica International, Inc., a national association of accounting firms offering membership to only 90 firms throughout the United States. This association offers a wide pool of additional technical expertise to the members firms, as well as continuing professional education necessary to maintain the degree of excellence which MHCS feels is vital in today’s business environment.

For more information about our firm, please visit our website or check us out on Facebook.

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