3 key reasons teachers should detail their back-to-school expenses

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Thursday, August 3, 2023
Teachers can deduct more for back-to-school shopping.
As the school year starts, ABC13 spoke with a tax expert on how educators can deduct any out-of-pocket classroom spending.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Eyewitness News is working for teachers across Texas as they get ready to go back to school and that includes taxes.

Taxes aren't due until April, but there are things to think about before school starts around the corner.

First, teachers spend plenty that will qualify as 'educator expenses.' A tax expert ABC13 spoke to, Kathy Ploch, says educators definitely want to save receipts from any out-of-pocket expenses on supplies such as books, paper, computer software, and other classroom essentials.

Personal protective equipment is also included in this too so if you purchased any cleaning wipes or hand sanitizer, but keep track of those costs because educators can deduct up to $300 in those unreimbursed expenses at the end of the year.

"I've actually had clients where I've had both the husband and the wife both be teachers and so if that's the case, that each of them get $300, so a total of $600 that they can deduct from their income tax return off of their gross income," Ploch said.

Second, if you tutored over the summer or maybe this is a side hustle, you do need to report your income and expenses.

Ploch encourages tracking any supplies you may have purchased as well and she mentions to not forget to document your mileage since you can deduct it at the end of the year.

"They will be able to get a mileage deduction and right now, unless the IRS changes it for 2023, that's 65 and a half cents per mile. And so, you know, that can add up depending on where the students are. So, Houston is big," Ploch said.

Lastly, Ploch has advice for any teachers wanting to further their own education while also working in the classroom. It's called the 'lifetime learning credit.' She says you must already have a four-year degree. But it can be worthwhile, as it covers 20% of qualified education expenses up to $10,000, for a maximum of $2,000.