Tax Breaks for Teachers and Other Educators by Adam Slavin, CPA

Posted on August 13, 2019 by Adam Slavin

The summer months are winding down, and teachers around the country are already preparing for a new school year. While many teachers reach into their own pockets to pay for classroom supplies, the good news is that certain educators may qualify for tax-relief for some of these out-of-pocket expenses.

Under federal law, eligible educators can deduct up to $250 of the “trade or business” expenses for which they paid and did not receive reimbursement, including:

To be considered an eligible educator, a taxpayer must be a teacher, instructor, counselor, principal or aide that works at least 900 hours a school year in a school that provides elementary or secondary education to students in kindergarten through grade 12. Married taxpayers filing joint returns may claim a deduction of $500 when both spouses are eligible educators.

Whereas the federal tax deduction can put money right back in the pockets of eligible educators, the state of Florida’s annual back-to-school sales tax holiday provides teachers and with an opportunity to reap tax savings right at the point of purchase. From Friday, Aug. 2, through Tuesday, Aug. 6, Florida resident can avoid paying state and local sales tax on purchases of qualifying school supplies, including clothing and backpacks costing less than $60 per item, and personal computers, monitors and software with a sales price of $1,000 or less.

About the Author: Adam Slavin, CPA, is a senior manager with Berkowitz Pollack Brant’s Tax Services practices, where he provides tax planning and consulting services to high-net-worth individuals and closely held business. He can be reached at the CPA firm’s Boca Raton, Fla., office at (561) 361-2000 or via email at


Information contained in this article is subject to change based on further interpretation of tax laws and subsequent guidance issued by the Internal Revenue Service.