If you were an eligible educator in 2010, you can deduct up to $250 of qualified expenses you paid in 2010 as an adjustment to gross income on Form 1040, line 23, rather than as a miscellaneous itemized deduction. If you file Form 1040A, you can deduct these expenses on line 16. If you and your spouse are filing jointly and both of you were eligible educators, the maximum deduction is $500. However, neither spouse can deduct more than $250 of his or her qualified expenses.

Eligible educator.   An eligible educator is a kindergarten through grade 12 teacher, instructor, counselor, principal, or aide in school for at least 900 hours during a school year.

Qualified expenses.  Qualified expenses include ordinary and necessary expenses paid in connection with books, supplies, equipment (including computer equipment, software, and services), and other materials used in the classroom. An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your educational field. A necessary expenses is one that is helpful and appropriate for your profession as an educator. An expense does not have to be required to be considered necessary.   Qualified expenses do not include expenses for home schooling or for nonathletic supplies for courses in health or physical education. You must reduce your qualified expenses by the following amounts.

  • Excludable U.S. series EE and I savings bond interest from Form 8815.

  • Nontaxable qualified state tuition program earnings.

    • Nontaxable earnings from Coverdell education savings accounts.

      • Any reimbursements you received for those expenses that were not reported to you on your Form W-2, box 1.

Educator expenses over limit.   If you were an educator in 2010 and you had qualified expenses that you cannot take as an adjustment to gross income, you can deduct the rest as an itemized deduction subject to the 2% limit.

Educator Expenses

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