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Video: Tax Tips for Teachers

Updated for Tax Year 2018 • July 22, 2022 10:32 AM


Teachers can claim certain deductions on their income taxes that aren't available to people in other professions. Find out about some of these tax tips with help from TurboTax.


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Video transcript:

Hi, I'm Arye from TurboTax with some important tax tips for teachers.
One: If you're a teacher and you used your own money to buy books or school supplies for your students, you are eligible to deduct up to $250 of those costs from your taxes. You don't even need to itemize your deductions!
Anything above $250 would need to be taken as an itemized deduction (prior to 2018), but make sure itemizing deductions make sense for you before you do so. You will need to reduce your expenses by any amount that you are reimbursed.
Two: College professors may also be able to deduct expenses related to their research. Expenses like traveling to conferences, subscribing to premium research websites or the printing and postage costs you rack up sending your work to prospective publishers can all be deducted, as long as it relates to a subject you teach. These deductions will need to be itemized.
Three: The Lifetime Learning Credit is available if you ever go back to school to pursue another degree or just improve your teaching skills.
Four: If you’re still paying your student loans, then you may be able to take the Student Loan Interest deduction.
You can deduct up to $2,500, but there are income limitations.
Your modified adjusted gross income must be less than $80,000 or $160,000 (2018 amounts) if you’re married and filing jointly ($85,000 or $170,000 for 2020). The loans also must be from a qualified source. For example, a student loan from your bank would qualify but a loan from your parents wouldn’t.
Your school needs to be an eligible educational institution according to the IRS. Most accredited postsecondary institutions are, but the school can confirm for you if you’re unsure.
Finally, it should be your name on the loan. Only loans for yourself, your spouse, or your dependent will qualify.
Five: You may also claim a charitable deduction for donations of any unreimbursed gifts you gave to your school. These gifts can include buying library books, materials and items, like a computer for the classroom, or donating money directly to the school.

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