Monday, February 2, 2015
Ten Tax Tips for Educators
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.
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).
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Take advantage of the Lifetime Learning Credit!
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.
According to Kiplinger.com, "The credit is worth up to $2,000 a year, based on 20% of up to $10,000 you spend for education after high school that leads to new or improved job skills. Classes you take even in retirement at a vocational school or community college can count. If you brushed up on skills in 2014, this credit can help pay the bills. The right to claim this tax-saver phases out as income rises from $54,000 to $64,000 on an individual return and from $108,000 to $128,000 for couples filing jointly."
Read more at http://www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/taxes/T054-S001-the-most-overlooked-tax-deductions-slide-show/index.html#xmeKmWYpEX56u5ty.99
4. Deduct the Costs of Tax Preparation
If you use tax software to prepare your taxes, you may be able to deduct the amount of the software you purchased in 2014. You must have itemized your deductions and keep the receipt.
5. Use a Checklist
Gather your documents, receipts and tax forms before you start. H&R Block has created a handy checklist to make sure you haven't overlooked any of the paperwork or information you'll need to do your taxes.
Download this checklist before you visit your tax preparer or before sitting down to complete your taxes online. This prep list can help you identify which documents you need to gather before you start the tax preparation process:
More tax tips will follow next week.
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.
Avoid the tax crunch next year. Start saving those receipts now for your 2015 expenses so you have a complete record of items to deduct on next year's taxes. Be sure to consult a professional for current tax laws, and visit the IRS websitse at http://www.irs.gov/ for the latest federal tax forms and publications plus free e-filing instructions.
New to Excel Math? Preview elementary math lessons that really work for Kindergarten through Sixth Grade on the products page of our website: http://excelmath.com/products.html.
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