What Are Some Overlooked Income Tax Deductions for Teachers?

by Craig Woodman

    Teachers give so much to their students, in terms of time and attention, as well as genuine caring. Often they also contribute financially to the education of their students and to the betterment of their careers. In many cases, the Internal Revenue Service recognizes these contributions and allows teachers to take tax deductions for these expenses. While you may deduct some expenses without restriction, others may only be deducted to the extent that they exceed 2 percent of your adjusted gross income.

    Teachers and their aides can claim a deduction for school supplies they purchase to use in their classrooms. This deduction is capped at $250 per year and is available even if you do not itemize your deductions. The school-supply deduction is not subject to the 2 percent minimum requirement.

    Many states require that teachers continue their education to maintain their teaching certification by taking certain courses. If your employer does not pay for these courses, they are deductible as a miscellaneous employee expense. Continuing education expenses are subject to the 2 percent minimum rule.

    In addition to the deductions available for your own self-subsidized student loans, the IRS allows you to deduct the interest on any student loans your parents pay on your behalf. As long as your parents do not claim you as a dependent, you can claim up to $2,500 in interest paid by your parents on student loans.

    If you are looking for a new job in the teaching profession, you can deduct expenses related to that job search, subject to certain rules. You must itemize your deductions, and job-hunting expenses are subject to the 2 percent rule. Meals and overnight lodging qualify if your search takes you out of town. You can also deduct fees for an employment agency if you use one to help you search for a new teaching position.

    If you are moving more than 50 miles away from your current home to take a new teaching job, you can deduct your moving expenses, even if it is your first teaching position. You can deduct the cost of moving your personal belongings and household goods, as well as the costs incurred by driving your own car at the standard 2012 mileage rate of 23 cents per mile. Parking and tolls are also deductible. You do not have to itemize to claim these deductions.

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    • girl teach to write image by Julia Britvich from Fotolia.com

    About the Author

    Craig Woodman began writing professionally in 2007. Woodman's articles have been published in "Professional Distributor" magazine and in various online publications. He has written extensively on automotive issues, business, personal finance and recreational vehicles. Woodman is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in finance through online education.

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