Are homeschool expenses tax deductible?
If you already homeschool or are thinking about homeschool, one question you may have is if you can deduct the expenses associated with homeschooling. Keeping track of your budget for your own homeschool is important and will help you on your family’s independent education journey. You might have heard about teachers receiving deductions for school supplies in some cases, but does that apply when you are the teacher at home? How about if the students share your same address?
Can my family deduct homeschool expenses on our tax return?
Questions about what is or is not allowed regarding the tax code are not always simple or completely black and white. Keep that in mind with this question. When most people ask this question, they are asking about their family’s federal tax return. When speaking about your federal tax return, the answer is almost certainly no when it comes to deductions for homeschool costs.
What about my state or local tax return?
This varies by state, just like everything else, but a small number of states (currently, three) have a tax benefit for homeschool families. Each locale has a unique definition for what qualifies as a deductible expense, so read carefully and consult with a qualified tax professional before you take any action.
"What is the difference between a taxidermist and a tax collector? The taxidermist takes only your skin." Mark Twain
What about the line on tax forms labeled “educator expense”?
I believe, as I’m sure you do, that homeschool mothers and fathers are absolutely educators. The IRS does not always agree with what we know to be true. This is one of those cases. Any line on a federal tax return, like the form 1040, that calls for “educator expenses” excludes homeschool. Unfortunately, the IRS went to the trouble to specifically say homeschool related expenses are not “qualified expenses” for purposes of a deduction.
Could the rules for what homeschool families can deduct ever change?
The tax code can and does often change at the federal, state, and local level. Whether it will is another question entirely. The Home School Legal Defense Association tracks legislation are part of their mission. You can always check the organization’s legislation page for potential or new legislation including bills that could change eligibility for homeschool related expenses.
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