Do Homeschoolers Qualify for the Educator Expense Deduction?

The plain and simple answer to this is no. There are not any federal tax credits or deductions that you can claim on your federal taxes for your expenses as a homeschooler. I’ve already written about why I oppose tax credits for homeschoolers in the first place, but so many homeschoolers feel that it is unfair for teachers to get the expense deduction and not home educators, that I thought I’d take a moment to address this.

Is It Fair?

The snub here is that in essence it would appear that the federal government is saying that there are ‘real’ teachers and then there are these rogue grass roots people who want to be teachers. However, I must say I don’t see it that way.

If anyone thinks that teachers just spend $250 on their classrooms, they are really unaware of what really is happening in our schools. In my honest opinion, the people who should be offended are teachers–$250 is chump change compared to what I believe most of them spend in their classrooms–at least around here.

The reality is though, that these are qualified business expenses. They are related to employment and this is why they’re included in the tax code. I realize that some would argue that educating your children is your full time job. . .and while I would agree in one sense. . .for tax purposes that just doesn’t work.

Federal Bills In Committee

There are two bills that were introduced in 2005 that may benefit homeschoolers by allowing them to deduct tax credits. They are currently both in Committee.

The first bill was introduced by Ron Paul as the Family Education Freedom Act (H.R. 406). It would allow up to $3,000 credit for tuition expenses. What is particularly unique to this bill is a section specifically allowing for adjustment in the credit according to the rising cost of living. The $3,000 credit would benefit any families with children in school who have school related expenses and the language of the bill specifically includes homeschoolers.

The second bill that was introduced in 2005 (by Representative Chris Smith R-4-NJ) is The Education, Achievement, and Opportunity Act (H.R. 441). It is a bill that would provide a credit per child ($2,500 per elementary student and $3,500 per high school student). The credit is income contingent. . .available only to those whose income is under $150,000 when filing jointly or under $75,000 otherwise. While the language does not specifically include homeschoolers, it does not exclude any students under any type of instruction.

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