Since the coronavirus pandemic began, we’ve heard a lot about front-line health care workers and their risks. Now, we’ve come to know that teachers face risks of their own.
To help mitigate those risks, eligible educators can now deduct their unreimbursed expenses for personal protective equipment (PPE) to help stop the spread of the virus in the classroom.
Rev. Proc. 2021-15 provides guidance for educators on their expenses under the COVID-related Tax Relief Act of 2020, 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.
Covered COVID-19 protective 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.
Educator expense deduction rules permit eligible educators to deduct up to $250 of their qualified expenses per year. The deduction rises to $500 if both spouses are eligible educators and they file married filing jointly. In either case, the deduction is limited to $250 each.
Eligible educators include anyone who is a kindergarten through grade-12 teacher, instructor, counselor, principal or aide in a school for at least 900 hours during a school year.
For more information on the deduction for expenses of an eligible educator, see the Instructions for Form 1040 and Form 1040-SR, or the Instructions for Form 1040-NR.
Details on this provision, the Tax Relief Act of 2020 and other tax changes can be found on the IRS website, IRS.gov.