It’s a common question come tax time. With families investing
so much time and money into school supplies, uniforms, private school tuition,
and even those notorious school lunches, they want to know what – if anything –
is tax deductible. According to the National Retail Federation Back-to-school
survey, families are expected to spend over $26 billion on school supplies and
that’s just for K-12 – that’s a lot of protractors.
The survey further revealed that the average family will
spend slightly less this year than last year on school supplies, clothing,
electronics, and shoes. According to the survey, the drop is due to fewer
students in households this summer than last year. The survey (published
here) detailed how the total spending expected for each family with
children in grades K – 12 is $669.28. If this seems a bit high for your
household, don’t worry. Some studies site geographic areas with varying
expenses and rightly so due to cost of living variances throughout the states.
Regardless of what you pay to get your child(ren) prepared
for school, you are not able to deduct school supplies for grades K-12
schooling. Unfortunately, there are no tax credits for back to school purchases.
Now if you have one heading off to college or you are taking courses yourself,
you may qualify for higher education or work-related course tax deductions. The
Internal Revenue Service breaks down the available credits and deductions for
those who qualify on their Tax Benefits for Education: Information Center.
Don’t give up just yet - you may still be able to save on
taxes! If your state participates in a sales tax holiday, you don’t have to pay
sales tax during a designated period of time (typically over a weekend). Sales
taxes are waived on many school supplies, clothing, shoes, and electronics. To
find out if your state has a tax-free holiday, and what it covers, check out
the details at The
Just because you can’t deduct school supplies as a tax
break, and perhaps your state doesn’t offer a sales tax break, doesn’t mean you
won’t save money. You can save a significant amount of out-of-pocket money by
shopping the huge back-to-school sales in stores and online. Retailers get very
competitive to tap into this billion dollar business of back-to-school. Stores
will offer items as a loss leader, below market cost, just to get you through
the doors. You can find some items for just a penny!
It might be tough to learn that there are no back to school tax
deductions for your grade school child; but, look on the bright side, it’s not
as tough as getting the kids back on a routine schedule.
If you have a question about taxes, that was not answered
here, grab your phone and call us at 1-866-871-1040. We are happy to help.
Disclaimer: Tax Lounge is an informational source for industry news and related topics. We take every effort to provide you with the most honest and accurate tax information, but this information should not be a substitute for professional tax advice. Use our office locator to find your local tax office or click here to subscribe to our free newsletter.