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Are Homeschooling Expenses Tax Deductible?

by David Engle | Jan 07, 2020 | 2 min read

A new year is upon us, and while Tax Day is still a few months away, now’s the time when many people start getting together their paperwork in preparation for filing. As a homeschooling parent or guardian, you know there are quite a few expenses when it comes to educating your children, and you might be wondering if any of those expenses are tax-deductible.

The list of supplies you buy each year is long, ranging from small and relatively inexpensive items like art supplies, pencils, and paper, to quite pricey supplies like computers, smartboards, books, and course curriculum, to name a few. So, there has to be a way to recoup some of that from Uncle Sam each spring, right? Well…

Simply put, not really. Unfortunately, homeschooling expenses are not deductible. Tax breaks are available for “eligible” teachers and educators on the federal income tax return in the form of Educator Expenses. But…are you an “eligible educator?” This is (one of the areas) where it gets a bit tricky. According to tax law, for the purpose of a tax deduction, an eligible educator is considered “an individual who is a kindergarten through grade 12 teacher, instructor, counselor, principal, or aide in a school for at least 900 hours during a school year.” OK, seems straightforward enough, right? Ehh…

Now you have to look at the definition of “school” for the purpose of tax deductions. That is “any school which provides elementary education or secondary education (kindergarten through grade 12), as determined under State law.” Hmm. After digging through a lot of tax jargon, homeschool unfortunately is not considered “school” for federal tax purposes. And 529 savings accounts can’t be used for homeschool expenses either.

Although you won’t get any deduction help from the federal government, there may be state tax breaks available, depending on where you live. Check here for your state’s tax laws, and contact a tax professional to see if any deductions might be available in your state.

Sure, it’s a bummer that you won’t be reimbursed for any homeschool-related expenses that you may incur throughout any given year. But, at the end of the day, it’s not about the money. You teach your children because you love to, because you know how your child learns, because it works for you and your family. And you can’t put a price tag on that.

How do you save money on homeschooling supplies each year? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

David Engle
Hello, and thanks for reading! I’m David Engle--dad, husband, sports fan, and writer/editor. As a father for the last 18 years (father of two for the last 14), I consider myself to be pretty well-versed in all things related to education, childhood, and parenting, and I'm thankful for the opportunity to share some insights and knowledge with fellow parents. I have been a professional writer and editor for a quarter of a century (it pains me to admit that) and have been writing in the educational space for a number of those years. I reside in southern New Jersey with my wife, two kids, two dogs, and three cats. Never a dull moment.
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