Teachers can get tax break

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 27, 2005

Staff report

With back-to-school sales in full swing, the IRS is reminding more than 116,000 Virginia teachers and school employees to save their receipts for purchases of books and classroom supplies.

These out-of-pocket expenses can result in a $250 above-the-line deduction that may mean lower taxes for Virginia educators. The deduction is available to teachers, instructors, counselors, principals and aides who work at least 900 hours during the school year, at public or private schools.

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&uot;Educators may subtract up to $250 of qualified expenses when figuring their adjusted gross income for 2005,&uot; IRS Spokeswoman Gloria Wajciechowski said.

&uot;This deduction is available whether or not the taxpayer itemizes deductions on Schedule A.

Expenditure over the $250 deduction limit may be itemized on the Form 1040, Schedule A, Itemized Deduction.&uot;

In 2003, the most recent year for which figures are available, nearly 3.3 million individuals claimed educator expense deductions totaling more than $800 million.

&uot;When funds for classroom supplies run out before the school year does, many Virginia teachers dip into their own pockets,&uot; Wajciechowski said.

&uot;The educator credit can give these educators a tax break on their out-of-pocket expenses.&uot;

For more information, access Topic 458 at www.IRS.gov or call the IRS Tele-Tax Tollfree system at 1-800-829-4477 and listen to Topic 458.