Teachers would be able to claim a deduction of up to $250 spent on classroom supplies on their federal tax returns for another two years, under a measure passed by Congress late last month.
The measure was included in the $145.9 billion tax-relief package passed on Sept. 23. It extends a deduction that was enacted in 2002 for the 2003 tax year, but that expired at the end of last year. President Bush had not signed the bill as of late last week.
The 2.7-million member National Education Association has pushed for the deduction. The nation’s largest teachers’ union seeks a permanent deduction of at least $400 that could be applied to professional-development expenses as well as classroom materials.
Expenses covered under the current measure can include any supplies or media used in the classroom. Teachers working half time or more in public or private schools qualify for the $250 deduction, which reduces by that amount the portion of an individual’s income that is subject to tax.
A 2001 survey by the National School Supply and Equipment Association found that teachers spent on average nearly $600 a year out of their own pockets on classroom materials.