Educators can now deduct out-of-pocket expenses for COVID-19 protective items

Tax Law and News Classroom

If you have clients who teach inside a classroom, you’ll want to know that eligible educators can deduct unreimbursed expenses for protective items to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the classroom. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Face masks.
  • Disinfectant for use against COVID-19.
  • Hand soap.
  • Hand sanitizer.
  • Disposable gloves.
  • Tape, paint, or chalk to guide social distancing.
  • Physical barriers (for example, clear plexiglass).
  • Air purifiers.
  • Other items recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be used for the prevention of the spread of COVID-19.

Rev. Proc. 2021-15 provides guidance related to educators and their expenses under the COVID-related Tax Relief Act of 2020, which was enacted as part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021. The new law clarifies that unreimbursed expenses paid or incurred after March 12, 2020, by eligible educators for protective items to stop the spread of COVID-19 qualify for the educator expense deduction.

The educator expense deduction rules permit eligible educators to deduct up to $250 of qualifying expenses per year ($500 if married filing jointly and both spouses are eligible educators, but not more than $250 each).

Eligible educators include any individual who is a kindergarten through grade 12 teacher, instructor, counselor, principal, or aide in a school for at least 900 hours during a school year.

This deduction is for expenses paid or incurred during the tax year. Taxpayers claim the deduction on Form 1040, Form 1040-SR, or Form 1040-NR (attach Schedule 1 (Form 1040). For additional information regarding the deduction for certain expenses of an eligible educator, see the Instructions for Form 1040 and Form 1040-SR or the Instructions for Form 1040-NR.

Visit the Intuit® COVID-19 Resource Center for updates and articles to help you guide your individual and business clients.

Comments (1) Leave your comment

  1. Educators have been able to deduct supplies for years now. The amount teachers spend on non COVID-19 supplies each year easily exceeds this standard of $250 to $500.

    Just to allow personal protective supplies to be part of the $250 to $500 allowance will not be a tax benefit. They already spent that on school supplies. Any PPP expenditures above the $250-$500 limit are disallowed.

    Teacher deserve a temporary increase in this limit to cover the extra COVID-19 expenses that are required and above and beyond the class room supplies they purchase.

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