Sen-Chuck Schumer-CC-maisa_nyc

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer launched a push Wendseday to reinstate an expired tax break that helps teachers deduct out-of-pocket classroom costs from their taxes. The Teacher Expense Deduction, would enable teachers across the United States to deduct up to $250 per year from their tax bill.

The New York senator said that this deduction is vital to help offset the $485 on average that teachers in his state spend each year to provide additional supplies for their students. The tax benefit went into effect in 2002, but expired in 2013.

Schumer said Congress is currently considering a package of provisions to reinstate and extend this and other tax benefits. Schumer said that passing the Teacher Expense Deduction must be a priority before December, because, if passed, it would apply to last year, helping teachers recoup costs retroactively, and it would extend the provision to 2015. All teachers could take advantage of it regardless of whether they itemize their deductions or take the standard deduction.

“Our teachers and school administrators have the incredibly important task of educating our children and providing them with the knowledge they need to be successful. But all too often, due to a lack of sufficient resources, our educators are forced to dig into their own pockets to purchase the supplies our kids need to learn and succeed,” said Schumer. “We can give an apple to those teachers this holiday season by making these out-of-pocket investments in their classrooms tax deductible.”

Schumer explained that the Teacher Expense Deduction allows eligible educators, including teachers, instructors, counselors, principals, and aides, to deduct up to $250 each year from their tax bill for any unreimbursed expense incurred for books, supplies, computer equipment (including related software and services), and other equipment, as well as supplementary materials used in the classroom. Schumer said that this applies to educators from grades K-12 who work at least 900 hours per school year. According to the National School Supply and Equipment Association, teachers spend on average $485 out of pocket on additional supplies for their students.

The package Congress is currently considering is called the EXPIRE Act and has received bipartisan approval in the Senate Finance Committee, but has not yet received a vote in the Senate.

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