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Monday, February 2, 2015

Ten Tax Tips for Educators, Part 1

As a teacher and educator, you probably spend your own money on classroom supplies, student treats, professional development, continuing education, and the list goes on.

Although this post provides general information about tax laws, please consult your tax professional for advice about your particular situation. The views expressed in this post are not necessarily those of AnsMar Publishers or Excel Math. We hope to give you some tips and places to look for additional deductions as you get your taxes ready this year.

Here are a few tax tips from the experts to help ease the burden as you prepare your taxes for 2014.

1. Keep Track of Out-of-Pocket Expenses
Hang on to those receipts (or hunt down your credit card statements) for bulletin board sets, small class rewards, extra paper and pencils and other supplies you purchase for your class without getting reimbursed. Qualified K-12 educators  can deduct up to $250 for materials. That amount gets subtracted from your income, so you can take the deduction even if you don’t itemize. Who qualifies? If you are a teacher, instructor, counselor, principal or aide for grades K-12, you will qualify if you work at least 900 hours during the school year (homeschool parents unfortunately do not qualify).

2. Keep Receipts from Donations and Gifts to Charity
Hang on to those receipts for donating clothes, household goods and cash to charities. You'll need to deduct the amount of any gift you receive in return for your donation. But if you give $50 to your favorite radio station and then receive a $10 gift card, you can still deduct $40 on your taxes, if you itemize.

3. Take Advantage of the Lifetime Learning Credit
The Lifetime Learning credit can be claimed for any number of years you spend taking college courses and can be used to offset the cost of higher education for yourself or your spouse . . . not just for your children. This credit phases out at higher income levels, but doesn’t discriminate based on age.

This information is provided for informational and education purposes only and should not be construed as professional tax advice. Although it is accurate and reliable to the best of our ability, there is no guarantee of its accuracy in your situation. Plus tax laws change often. For information regarding your tax deductions, be sure to contact your tax consultant.

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