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Can I deduct rental fees for storage units for educational materials from my taxes?


A: For the past year I have rented a storage unit near my school that I have used exclusively to store some of my educational materials that I use in my classroom. Is the rent that I pay for that storage unit deductible as an Employee Business Expense on IRS Form 2106?

Q: I am not a tax attorney or expert on tax issues, but after reading the Instructions for Form 2106 my answer to your question is NO. State and local officials paid on a fee basis can file the Employee Business Expense Form 2106. Teachers are salaried employees, not paid on a fee basis.

Rather than filing Form 2106 you may be able to enter expenses on line 20 of Schedule A, Form 1040. Itemized deductions reported this way are subject to a 2% limit, which means you can deduct the amount left after you subtract 2% of your adjusted gross income from the total. 

Educators, including K-12 teachers, instructors, counselors, principals, and aides may qualify for a special expense deduction even if they do not itemize or the expenses do not exceed the two percent adjusted gross income limit. You can get information on this Educator Expense Deduction at the IRS web site. Tax Topic 458  explains:
http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc458.html

Qualified expenses are unreimbursed expenses you paid or incurred for books, supplies, computer equipment (including related software and service), 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 they are related to athletics. To be deductible, educator expenses must be more than the following amounts for the tax year: the interest on U.S. savings bonds that you excluded from income from because you paid qualified higher education expenses, any distributions from a qualified tuition program that you excluded from income, any tax-free withdrawals from your Coverdell Education Savings Account.

Get more information and learn about NEA efforts to make the deduction permanent and raise it to $400 at: http://www.nea.org/home/16335.htm

You should not rely on my quick opinion in the complicated field of taxes.  Consult your own accountant or attorney; or check whether your Uniserv office can refer you to a local tax advisor.


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