The deduction is available if you are an eligible educator in a public or private elementary or secondary school. To be eligible, you must work at least 900 hours during a school year as a teacher, instructor, counselor, principal, or aide.
If you are an eligible educator, you can deduct up to $250 ($500 if married filing joint and both spouses are educators, but not more than $250 each) of any unreimbursed expenses [otherwise deductible as a trade or business expense] you paid or incurred for books, supplies, computer equipment (including related software and services), other equipment, and supplementary materials that you use in the classroom. For courses in health and physical education, expenses for supplies are qualified expenses only if they are related to athletics. This deduction is for expenses paid or incurred during the tax year. The deduction is claimed on either line 23 of Form 1040 (PDF) or line 16 of Form 1040A (PDF).
You are an eligible educator if, for the tax year, you meet the following requirements:
- You are a kindergarten through grade 12:
- Principal, or
- Aide, and
- You work at least 900 hours a school year in a school that provides elementary or secondary education, as determined under state law.
Qualified expenses are deductible only to the extent the amount of such expenses exceeds the following amounts for the tax year:
- The interest on qualified U.S. savings bonds that you excluded from income because you paid qualified higher education expenses,
- Any distribution from a qualified tuition program that you excluded from income,
- Any tax-free withdrawals from your Coverdell Education Savings Account, or
- Any reimbursements you received for those expenses that were not reported to you on your Form W-2, box 1.