Questions & Answers

What is the Public School Educator Expense Credit?

If you are an eligible educator working for an Indiana school corporation, you may be entitled to a credit for qualified expenses paid for certain classroom supplies. The credit can be as much as $100 ($200 if married filing joint and both spouses meet the requirements, but not more than $100 each).

You are an eligible educator if, during the taxable year, you are employed as a Kindergarten -12 Indiana public school:

  • Teacher
  • Librarian
  • Counselor
  • Principal
  • Superintendent
Public school means a school maintained by an Indiana school corporation, and includes charter schools. Private schools, parochial schools and homeschools are not public schools.

Qualified expenses are amounts you paid or incurred during the tax year for certain classroom supplies, which include books, supplies, computer equipment (including related software and services), other equipment, and supplementary materials that you use in the classroom. For courses in health and physical education, expenses for supplies are qualified expenses only if related to athletics.

Non-qualified expenses are certain expenses not allowed when figuring this credit. They include:
  • Certain expenses for professional development courses related to the curriculum, or to the students, that the educator teaches.
  • COVID-19 protective items, such as face masks; disinfectant for use against COVID-19; hand soap; hand sanitizer; disposable gloves; tape, paint, or chalk to guide social distancing; physical barriers (for example, clear plexiglass); air purifiers; and other items recommended by the CDC to be used for the prevention of the spread of COVID-19.
Reimbursements. You must reduce your expenses for the qualified supplies by any reimbursements you received that were not included in box 1 of your Form W-2.

Example 1. Jonah spent $40 for qualified supplies; he was reimbursed for $30 out of petty cash, none of which was included on his W-2. He will claim the $10 difference as a credit.

Figure the credit. The amount of the credit is the lesser of: (1) the total amount paid for qualified supplies, less any reimbursements for those qualified supplies not included on line 1 of your W-2, or (2) $100.

Example 2. Quincy is an 8th grade teacher at an Indiana public school. During the year he spent $314 for qualified supplies. He is eligible to claim a $100 credit.

Example 3. Chris and Pat are employed as teachers at an Indiana public high school. They are filing a joint tax return. During the year Chris spent $74 for qualified supplies; Chris's credit is $74. Pat spent $214 for qualified supplies; Pat's credit is $100 (limited to the lesser of the amount Pat spent or $100). They will claim a $174 combined credit.

Important. Make sure to keep a copy of the expense receipts used to figure this credit as the department can require you to provide this information at a later date.

Note. Claiming an educator expense deduction on your federal tax return in no way prohibits you from being eligible to claim this credit on your state tax return.

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