March 19, 2004

Teacher Tax Deduction Not for Home Schoolers

In early 2002 President Bush signed into law the Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act (P.L. No: 107-147). Along with numerous items intended to stimulate the economy, this measure contains a general tax deduction for teachers. Many Home School Legal Defense Association members have asked whether or not this deduction extends to home schoolers.

The short answer: No.

The long answer: While Section 406 of the new law would, in plain reading, apply to home schoolers, it is doubtful that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) would recognize the deduction. Specifically, Section 406 provides a $250 deduction for the expenses of elementary and secondary school teachers. Although the term "school" seems to be defined broadly enough to include home schoolers, Section 406 amends a section of the tax code (26 U.S.C. Sect. 62(a)(2)) dealing specifically with the business deductions of employees. Since home schoolers are not school "employees," it has been HSLDA's opinion that the deduction does not apply to them.

The IRS has reflected this every year in their tax form instructions: Tax form 1040 Line 23 and Form 1040A Line 16 state clearly that the eligible educator "Qualified expenses do not include expenses for homeschooling or for nonathletic supplies for courses in health or physical education."

To read the IRS Forms click on the following links:

Form 1040A Line 16 Page 26 instructions

For more information about other possible tax benefits available to home schoolers, please visit our Tax Issue folder.