Are Homeschooling Expenses Deductible?

The short answer is: No. Find out which education-related tax deductions and credits are not available to people who homeschool their children.

Over 1.5 million children are homeschooled by their parents. The average annual expense of educating a child at home is $500 to $600. Are these expenses deductible? The short answer is "no."

The list of all the education-related deductions you are not allowed to take for homeschooling expenses include:

Educator Expense Deduction

A special educator deduction allows kindergarten through grade 12 teachers to deduct up to $250 of what they pay for books, supplies, equipment, and other materials used in the classroom. However, this deduction is intended to reimburse employee-teachers for their out-of-pocket expenses. The IRS has made it very clear that this deduction is not available for expenses incurred by parents who homeschool their children.

Tuition and Fees Deduction

An itemized personal deduction is also allowed for educational tuition and fees. However, this deduction is available only for post-secondary education; not kindergarten though twelfth grade--the grades taught by homeschoolers.

Charitable Contribution Deduction

Donations to nonprofit schools and other educational institutions are tax deductible if the institution has qualified as a Section 501(c)(3) nonprofit with the IRS. However, there is no such deduction for giving money to individuals who homeschool their children. Contributions to individuals are not tax deductible, even if they are for a good purpose.

Tax Credits

There are two valuable tax credits for education expenses: the American opportunity tax credit, and the lifetime learning credit. These are available only for post-secondary education at accredited educational institutions so they can not be used by someone who homeschools a child.

To learn more about what children-related tax breaks you can qualify for, see Nolo's article Tax Breaks for Parents.

April 2013

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