3 Ways to Save on Taxes as a Teacher

If you are a teacher, there are a variety of different deductions that you can qualify for when it comes to tax season. Here are five deductions that you may be able to take advantage of on your taxes this year if you are a teacher. 

#1 Classroom Supplies

The tax code realizes that most teachers purchase their own supplies for their classroom and builds in a standard deduction that you can take for all classroom-related expenses that you were not reimbursed for over the past year. This deduction allows you to write off $250 dollars per teacher.

These need to be ordinary expenses, which means that they need to be items you purchased that would be used in a classroom. This can also include money that you spent on professional development as well as computer equipment for your classroom. Most regular classroom expenses qualify for this deduction, but if you are not sure if your expenses qualify, check with a tax professional like HBE Becker Meyer Love LLP.

#2 Union Fees

In some states and school districts, you are required to participate in the school union. If you had to pay union dues after taxes were paid on your salary, you can deduct those expenses. If your union dues were taken out of your paycheck before taxes were calculated, generally those fees are not deductible.

#3 Continued Education Tax Credit

As a teacher, you have to take professional development classes in order to maintain your certification. In some states, you also have to take university level classes to maintain your teaching certification. You may be able to deduct some of the money that you invest in your professional credit via the Lifetime Learning Credit.

The best part about the Lifetime Learning Credit is that there is no limit on how often you can use it. You can use the Lifetime Learning Credit every year that you are eligible, which is great for teachers, since you have to take continued professional development during your entire active career.

A Lifetime Learning Credit will reduce the amount of taxes that you own. For example, if at the end of the year you owe $1,000 and you qualify for a $1,000 Lifetime Learning Credit, you will not own any taxes. However, you can't get money back from this credit. If, for example, you owe $1,000 in taxes and your lifetime earning credit is $1,500, it would reduce your tax burden to zero, but you wouldn't get a refund for the remaining $500.