The Internet has helped fuel distance learning and virtual classrooms. Whether you can deduct your Internet bills for education -- and the extent of your tax break -- depend on whether you're a full-time student or teacher or enhancing your career.
Internet Access is Personal
Monthly Internet bills by students are not deductible nor qualify for education credits. These charges are usually considered personal, living or family expenses. You can take out money tax-free from a Coverdell Education Savings Account to pay for Internet access for your children's education from kindergarten through 12th grade.
Educator Expense Deduction
If you teach in elementary, middle or high school, you can write off Internet fees for posting online assignments or instructional material. The IRS requires that you spend 900 hours per school year in the school. The deduction for educator expenses, which also includes books and supplies you purchase, is capped at $250 a year. You can take the educator expense deduction even if you don't itemize. Keep receipts and bills to separate school use from personal use.
You can include Internet charges for taking work-related online courses as an employee deduction. The work-related education must be required by the employer or law to keep your job, status or salary or must maintain or improve your job skills. Online classes that qualify you for a new trade or business or are required to meet the minimum educational requirements of a new trade or business do not count. Also, only these and other unreimbursed employee expenses that exceed 2 percent of adjusted gross income are deductible.
- Anthony & Associates Certified Public Accountants: Tax Tips for Teachers
- WoltersKluwer: Education Tax Breaks
- IRS.gov: Qualified Education Expenses
- TurboTax Frequently Asked Questions: What Are Qualified Education Expenses?
- IRS.gov: Publication 529 -- Miscellaneous Deductions
- IRS.gov: Tax Topic 458 -- Educator Expense Deduction
- IRS.gov: Tax Topic 513 -- Educational Expenses
Christopher Raines enjoys sharing his knowledge of business, financial matters and the law. He earned his business administration and law degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As a lawyer since August 1996, Raines has handled cases involving business, consumer and other areas of the law.