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Congressman Tom MacArthur

Representing the 3rd District of New Jersey

Congressman MacArthur Urges Congress to Protect and Expand the Teacher Expense Deduction

December 13, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman MacArthur urged Congress to protect and expand the educator expense deduction to $500 from $250.  Under current law, educators can receive a deduction for supplies they purchase for the benefit of their students, instead of paying out-of-pocket. After successfully fighting to preserve the property tax deduction for his constituents, Congressman MacArthur continues to work to improve this bill on behalf of South Jersey residents. 

“Two of my grandparents were school teachers and then superintendents, and my mother was a librarian so I have a deep respect for educators and our public school system,” said Congressman MacArthur. “Almost all teachers use some amount of their own money to buy supplies for their classrooms and they bear this expense out of dedication and love for their students.  The tax code should reward this dedication and protect and expand this provision that supports teachers, and helps improve schools in New Jersey, and across the country.”

Full Text of Letter:

Dear Conferees,

In the wake of the passage of historic, comprehensive tax reform, we write to you in order to highlight one issue that we believe should be addressed in the conference process. As supporters of H.R. 1, we write to express our concerns about the provision within the bill that would eliminate the tax deduction for school supplies paid for by educators. This important tax provision supports teachers, enhances students’ learning experiences, and improves schools across our country. We strongly support the Senate’s plan for expanding the educator expense deduction in support of our nation’s hard working teachers.

Our nation’s teachers not only support America’s bright young minds with their time and care, they are also asked to subsidize our children’s education by purchasing supplies and materials for the classroom that are not reimbursed by their school. Virtually all teachers use some amount of their own money to buy supplies for their classrooms, and the average teacher spends $485 per year. This out-of-pocket cost is one that they bear out of dedication and love for their students.

Under current law, educators can receive a deduction of $250 per year for supplies they purchased for the benefit of their students. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, as passed by the House, eliminated this provision. However, the Senate version of the tax reform bill included an expansion of the educator expense deduction, to $500 per year. While we value the goal of simplifying the tax code, certain specifically-targeted deductions have benefits that make them worthy of preservation. We believe that the educator expense deduction is one of these provisions whose benefits outweigh their financial cost. The final version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act should include the Senate’s expansion of the educator expense deduction to $500 per year.

American teachers go above and beyond the call of duty for their students every single day, and the personal expenses they incur for classroom supplies are just one example of this. The tax code should reward their dedication and help them recoup at least some of that cost. As we complete the process of overhauling our nation’s tax code, we ask that you increase the crucial educator expense deduction.

Representative MacArthur joined Representatives Bilirakis, Bost, Costello, Farenthold, Granger, Messer, Ros-Lehtinen in this request.