Can You Claim Tutoring as a Write-off?

by Madison Garcia ; Updated July 27, 2017
A tutor helping a boy surrounded by his books complete his homework.

The money that students or parents pay for tutoring is usually not deductible. Parents of students with special needs, however, may be able to deduct tutoring as a medical expense. Most educators and aides can deduct any expenses they incur to provide tutoring. Tutoring expenses for teachers are part of the educator expense deduction.

Tutoring as a Medical Expense

Most tutoring expenses that you pay for your child are not deductible. The exception is for children with special needs. The IRS lets parents deduct the cost of special needs tutoring as long as a few conditions are met. The child's doctor must recommend tutoring and the tutor must be specially trained and qualified for the job. Some examples of eligible tutoring expenses would be tutoring Braille, teaching lip reading, or offering remedial language training. The tutoring must be designed for a child with a learning disability. Tutoring for children with behavioral problems is not deductible.

Deducting Medical Expenses

Taxpayers who qualify can list tutoring fees as medical expenses on Schedule A, line 1. If you or a family member had to travel to receive the tutoring, the cost of meals and lodging during the trip are also deductible as a medical expense. Along with tutoring fees, taxpayers can include any other medical fees they paid on behalf of themselves, their spouses and their dependents. Medical expenses are only deductible after they exceed 10 percent of the taxpayer's adjusted gross income. To get a deduction for medical expenses, you must forgo the standard deduction and instead itemize your deductions.

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Tutoring Deduction for Educators

If you're an educator and you earn money through tutoring, you may be able to get a tax deduction for it. Eligible educators include K-12 teachers, instructors, counselors, aides and principals. You're also an eligible educator if you work at least 900 hours a year at an elementary or secondary education school. Individuals can deduct up to $250 worth of supplies, books, software and computer equipment purchased for tutoring purposes.

Deducting Educator Expenses

You must reduce the amount you report in tutoring expenses by the amount of interest you receive on U.S. savings bonds, distributions from qualified tuition programs and withdrawals from a Coverdell account. You also must exclude any tutoring costs that were reimbursed to you by parents or your employer. Report your tutoring expenses, capped at $250, on line 23 of Form 1040. Because this is an "above the line" deduction, you can still claim the standard deduction and get a tax break for tutoring expenses.

About the Author

Based in San Diego, Calif., Madison Garcia is a writer specializing in business topics. Garcia received her Master of Science in accountancy from San Diego State University.

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