January 25, 2021

TAX TIME: Remember these deductions your union won for you

Source:  NYSUT Communications
tax deduction

A reminder for tax season: Thanks to union victories, the educator expense tax deduction has been renewed for 2020 returns - and there's a state deduction for your union dues, too.

Educator expense tax deduction renewed for 2020 tax returns

Eligible educators can deduct up to $250 of qualified expenses you paid in 2020. If you and your spouse are filing jointly and both of you were eligible educators, the maximum deduction is $500. However, neither spouse can deduct more than $250 of his or her qualified expenses.

An eligible educator is a K-12 teacher, instructor, counselor, principal, or aide who worked at least 900 hours in a school that provides elementary or secondary education as determined by state law.

Qualified expenses include ordinary and necessary expenses paid:

  • In connection with books, supplies, equipment (including computer equipment, software, and services), and other materials used in the classroom.
  • For professional development courses you have taken related to the curriculum you teach or to the students you teach.

An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your educational field. A necessary expense is one that is helpful and appropriate for your profession as an educator. An expense doesn’t have to be required to be considered necessary.

For further information, consult your tax preparer and/or IRS Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax for Indviduals.

State tax deduction for your union dues

As a result of legislation championed by NYSUT, the state AFL-CIO and unions across the state, which was passed and signed into law in April 2017, union members in New York can deduct their union dues from their state income taxes if they itemize.

While not a dollar for dollar deduction for your overall union dues, this deduction will offset your taxable income if you itemize your New York state income taxes. 

Consult with your personal tax preparer to confirm your own situation.

Learn more at nysaflcio.org.