Pre-K teacher tax deductions (part 1)
Below is the first in a series of posts to provide tips on tax deductions for pre-kindergarten teachers from financial consultant, Steven Daar.
The New Year brings about a lot of exciting & promising things. Taxes are not included in that group. But they are going to have to be paid one way or the other and if you want to keep a little more of the money in your bank account as opposed to going to a video game preservation center in New York (one of 100 examples US Senator Tom Coburn points out in his report of unnecessary projects the federal government spends on), I have a few tax deductions available to pre-kindergarten teachers you can utilize to do just that.
1) The first one is you can deduct any dues you pay for any professional organizations related to your career (the NAEYC or NAECTE for example as well as a teachers union).
2) If you pay out of pocket to obtain a license or certification, you may deduct those costs as well. In this case, I am referring to a first aid certification or CPR certification. So long as having this license or certification is necessary or better equips you to teach you class you may deduct the cost.
3) When traveling to any training session or conference that is related to your career, you can deduct your mileage as well as hotel expenses as well as 50% of your food expenses. If you pay for training or continuing education courses, those expenses are tax deductible as well.
4) A fun tax deduction (if such a thing exists) is that if you give birthday or holiday gifts to co-workers or other school employees, you may deduct up to $25 for each gift you give.
5) You may also deduct any charitable deductions that you make (that is true for anyone, not just for teachers). This includes donations you make to your school (whether it is a gift of new books to the school library or a monetary donation to help the school fund a project). Note: You may only take this deduction if you teach at a public school or a private school that is set up as a non-profit.
All of the above deductions are taken on Schedule A of your tax form. That means the deductions only count if you itemize your tax deductions rather than take the standard deduction.
To accurately be able to take these deductions, keep your receipts for job-related expenses. Have a specific folder, envelope, or file for these receipts. When it comes time to fill out your taxes, either bring the receipts to your accountant/tax preparer. Or if you prepare your own tax forms, use the receipts to add up the amount of money you spent on job-related expenses. Note that you may not include any expenses for which you were reimbursed by your employer.
Check back with us tomorrow as we learn about the "teacher expense deduction".
Steven Daar is a graduate from the University of Illinois in Urbana – Champaign’s Business School with a degree in Finance. Steven Daar has put together many articles for teachers at his website teachersretirementhelp.com.