Eligible educators can deduct unreimbursed expenses for COVID-19 protective gear.  These items 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; and
  • other items recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to be used for the prevention of the spread of COVID-19.

Rev. Proc. 2021-15 gives guidance related to educators and their expenses under the COVID-related Tax Relief Act of 2020, which was enacted as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 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 12th grade  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. Educator taxpayers can claim the deduction on the forms 1040, 1040-SR and 1040-NR.

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