Why Is the Teacher Tax Deduction So Much Less Than What We Actually Spend?

“I used to spend my own money on supplies, but I can’t afford to anymore.”

Tax Deduction Less Than What Teachers Spend

On average, U.S. teachers spend $500 on school supplies each year out of their own pockets. And yet, teachers are only allowed to claim a $250 tax deduction when filing. That deduction for teachers hasn’t changed since 2003, while the amount teachers spend out of pockets has continually increased. That just doesn’t add up.

New Jersey teacher Nicholas Ferroni went on the hunt for some answers. He took to Twitter to ask how much fellow educators have spent on school supplies  this year.

Here’s what teachers had to say in response:

Some teachers wished they only spent $500 a year on supplies.

We hear you there, Heather.

Entire teacher paychecks—and then some—are being spent on supplies.

“Teachers already give back a lot to their communities, expecting them to even pay for the supplies needed to do their work seems unfair and even absurd,” said one non-teacher Twitter user.


In fact, many teachers surpassed the $250 maximum for the year a while ago.

Well, that’s one way to put it all in perspective.

As we all know, books are rarely cheap.

Yes, they do. #SaveTheArts

How much teachers spend depends on what they teach, too.

Science equipment adds up quickly.

The more classes and programs an educator leads, the more they have to pay for.

Let’s not forget that librarians and other school staff members also contribute out-of-pocket.

At the end of the day, teachers will pay whatever they can because they want their students to succeed.

Where you teach also impacts how much is spent to give students a proper education.

Kids absolutely deserve it.

We might have to implement this tactic for our own mental health!

So if teachers are willing to do—and pay—whatever they can to help students succeed, why isn’t our education system doing the same?

This is not a bad idea at all, honestly.

We’d love to hear from you. How much more do you spend than the annual tax deduction? Come and share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.

Plus, why teachers should not have to beg for school supplies online.

Why Is the Teacher Tax Deduction So Much Less Than What We Actually Spend?