11.19.14

SCHUMER LAUNCHES PUSH TO REINSTATE CRITICAL “TEACHER TAX BREAK” THAT HELPS OVER 100,000 UPSTATE NY TEACHERS SAVE UP TO $250 PER YEAR ON SCHOOL SUPPLIES – EXPIRED IN 2013; RENEWAL WOULD HELP OFF-SET COSTS FOR TEACHERS WHO DIP INTO THEIR OWN POCKETS TO PURCHASE SUPPLIES FOR CLASSROOM

The Average NYS Teacher Spends a Whopping $485 Per Year Out of Pocket To Help Educate Our Kids – Important Tax Benefit That Helped Make Purchasing School Supplies More Affordable Expired in 2013

Schumer Launches Push To Re-Instate This Important Benefit for NY Teachers & Make It Retroactive to Cover Last Year in this Month’s Lame Duck Session – Tax Benefit Will Help Teachers Save & Bring More Supplies Into NY Classrooms to Help Our Kids Learn, Including During Upcoming Holiday Lesson Plans; Schumer Will Release Report On Number of Teachers per County & The Amount of Savings


Schumer: Fed Government Can Give an Apple to NY Teachers this Year By Making Out-of- Pocket Investment in Students Tax Deductible

Today, on a conference call with reporters, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer launched his push to reinstate an expired tax break that helps teachers deduct out-of-pocket classroom supply costs from their taxes. Specifically, the Teacher Expense Deduction, would enable over 100,000 teachers across upstate New York to deduct up to $250 per year from their tax bill. Schumer said that this deduction is vital to help offset the $485 on average that New York State teachers spend each year to provide additional supplies for their students. The tax benefit went into effect in 2002, but expired in 2013. Schumer said that Congress is currently considering a package of provisions to reinstate and extend various tax benefits and the Teacher Expense Deduction is included in that package. Schumer said that passing the Teacher Expense Deduction must be a priority during the lame duck session of Congress that takes place this month. If passed, this provision would apply to last year, helping teachers recoup costs retroactively, and it would extend the provision to 2015. Unlike many tax benefits, the Teacher Expense Deduction is an above-the-line deduction, which means all teachers can take advantage of it regardless of whether they itemize their deductions or take the standard deduction.

“Our teachers and school administrators have the incredibly important task of educating our children and providing them with the knowledge they need to be successful. But all too often, due to a lack of sufficient resources, our educators are forced to dig into their own pockets to purchase the supplies our kids need to learn and succeed,” said Schumer. “The average New York teacher spends almost $500 on supplies for their classrooms each year, and we can give an apple to those teachers this holiday season by making these out-of-pocket investments in their classrooms tax deductible. The Teacher Expense Deduction, which expired in 2013, used to do just that, and it’s high time we reinstate it and make it retroactive to cover last year’s expenses. If Congress does not reinstate and extend this Teacher Tax Break before January 1, 130,000 teachers throughout Upstate New York and Long Island could be forced to foot the entire bill for their classroom supplies for yet another year. That is a situation I want to avoid, and I will be pushing my colleagues in Congress to reinstate this benefit during this Lame Duck session.”

Schumer explained that the Teacher Expense Deduction allows eligible educators, including teachers, instructors, counselors, principals, and aides, to deduct up to $250 each year from their tax bill for any unreimbursed expense incurred for books, supplies, computer equipment (including related software and services), and other equipment, as well as supplementary materials used in the classroom. Schumer said that this applies to educators from grades K-12 who work at least 900 hours per school year. According to the National School Supply and Equipment Association, teachers spend on average $485 out of pocket on additional supplies for their students. Schumer said that this deduction will be crucial in helping to offset some of those costs. According to the National Education Association (NEA), public school teachers spent $3.2 billion on classroom tools during the 2012-2013 school year, only half of which was funded by schools, meaning that teachers spent $1.6 billion of their own money on classroom supplies and gear during the 2012-2013 school year.

While the benefit expired in 2013, Schumer said that Congress is currently considering a package of expired tax provisions, called the EXPIRE Act, which includes the Teacher Expense Deduction. Schumer helped ensure a provision that would reinstate and extend the Teacher Expense Deduction through 2015 was included in the EXPIRE Act. This act received bipartisan approval in the Senate Finance Committee, but has not yet received a vote in the Senate. If passed, this above-the-line deduction would allow educators to benefit when they file their taxes regardless of whether they itemize their deductions or take the standard deduction. Schumer said that this tax benefit is a win for all teachers because it would allow them to take advantage of the Teacher Expense Deduction in addition to the standard deduction or the itemized deductions they chose to take each year. Schumer also said that if two spouses file jointly and are both educators, they can claim up to $500 with this tax deduction.

Schumer said that he is pushing his colleagues in Congress to re-instate this important benefit for New York teachers and make it retroactive to cover the year 2014 under the EXPIRE Act. If this tax extenders package is passed, Schumer said, teachers would be able to claim tax deductions for school supplies for the year 2014 and for the upcoming school year in 2015. Schumer said that this deduction needs to be extended before January 1st, during the Lame Duck session of Congress, or teachers could be forced to wait until 2016 before the Teacher Expense Deduction is re-instated. The EXPIRE Act received bipartisan approval in the Senate Finance Committee. Nearly every year Congress passes this type of bipartisan package extending tax provisions that are scheduled to expire or have already expired. However, it has failed to do so since 2013.  Schumer is pushing for this legislation to be passed in the next six weeks. There has been some opposition in Washington to doing such a package, but today Schumer said that teachers across Upstate New York and Long Island should not have to wait. He said the EXPIRE Act, including the Teacher Expense Deduction, must be passed this year.

“Teachers routinely dig deep in their own pockets, spending hundreds of dollars per year to pay for supplies and materials their kids need,” said Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers. “Many of these supplies, like books and paper, even coats and food, should be provided by schools but aren’t, because of ongoing austerity and budget cuts. This bill will continue to give teachers a much-needed tax deduction to offset some of the costs teachers incur to pay for their students’ education.”

During the call, Schumer provided the number of teachers that this benefit could help, as well as the amount of money they could deduct. Specifically, the 139,420 teachers throughout Upstate New York and Long Island would be able to deduct a total of $34,855,000:

·         In the Capital Region, 13,180 teachers would be able to deduct up to $3,295,000.

·         In Central New York, 12,958 teachers would be able to deduct up to $3,239,500.

·         In Western New York, 15,672 teachers would be able to deduct up to $3,918,000.

·         In the Rochester-Finger Lakes Region, 15,902 teachers would be able to deduct up to $3,975,500.

·         In the Southern Tier, 9,683 teachers would be able to deduct up to $2,420,750.

·         In the Hudson Valley, 27,652 teachers would be able to deduct up to $6,913,000.

·         In the North Country, 7,152 teachers would be able to deduct up to $1,788,000.

·         On Long Island, 37,221 teachers would be able to deduct up to $9,305,250.

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