Educators Can Now Deduct Expenses for COVID-19 Classroom Items and PPE

What schools and educational nonprofits need to know about deductions for teachers during COVID-19.

Deduct Classroom PPE

Educators have been through a lot this school year. On top of adapting to a huge shift to virtual learning, keeping students safe during COVID-19 has left some teachers dipping into their own pockets for protective gear. Now, teachers get a tax break for COVID-19 classroom supplies.

In an attempt to provide some financial relief during our current health crisis, a new law allows educators to deduct out-of-pocket expenses for COVID-19 protective items. 

Here’s what schools and other educational nonprofits should make sure their teachers know about tax deductions for COVID-19.

What Classroom Items Can Educators Deduct?

As teachers in some school districts make an effort to reopen classrooms safely, back-to-school shopping looks a little different this year. Here are the items on the IRS’s deductible list:

  • 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.

The New Law for COVID-19 Deductions

The Consolidation Appropriation Act of 2021 allows teachers to deduct personal protective equipment (PPE). Teachers can deduct up to $250 worth of equipment. If two eligible married teachers file their taxes jointly, they can deduct a total of $500, but it should be a maximum of $250 each.

Who is Eligible? 

K-12 educators, including teachers, instructors, counselors, principals, or aides in a school for 900 hours or more during the school year, can make these deductions. The COVID-19 protective gear purchases need to have been made after March 12, 2020.

Be sure to share this article with your nonprofit’s employees to make sure they know about this option.

How to Claim a Deduction for COVID-19 Protective Gear

So how do teachers and educators actually claim deductions for COVID-19 PPE and other items? Taxpayers can claim these deductions on Form 1040, Form 1040-SR, or Form 1040-NR Schedule 1. Form 1040 is the personal income tax return, so your nonprofit’s teachers and employees will already need to file this form anyway. 

As always, ExpressTaxExempt is here to keep nonprofits and tax-exempt organizations up to date on the latest IRS news and updates. We’re proud to support safe and easy Form 990 filing for the nonprofit sector and help organizations stay healthy and tax-exempt. 

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