Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

Updated: September 13, 2023

King introduces bill to expand teachers' tax breaks for buying supplies

Crayons, colored pencils and paper clips on a desk Photo / Courtesy A bill introduced by U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, would expand tax deductions for teachers that pay out-of-pocket for school supplies.

Teachers spending their own money on classroom necessities including notebooks, pencils and paper products would get a bigger tax break under a bill introduced by U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine.

The Educators Expense Deduction Modernization Act of 2023 would more than triple the amount educators can deduct from their taxes for out-of-pocket expenses to $1,000 and index the amount to inflation. The current dedication is up to $300, which is less than most teachers report spending out of pocket. 

Teachers are paid 20% less on average than other college-educated workers and make even less than that average in 25 states, according to the U.S. Department of Education. In Maine, 14,714 educators are licensed to work in schools.

Sen. Angus King
File photo
U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine.

“As the son of two public school teachers, I’m eternally grateful for the contributions of America’s educators,” King said. “From the moment they walk into a classroom, Maine’s teachers lay the foundation for our children’s success and provide an invaluable, often underappreciated service to our communities. 

“This bill will ensure that our teachers can receive expanded tax deductions when they pay out-of-pocket to buy learning tools for their students,” he added. “I hope we can all take time to recognize the contributions of Maine educators, and educators across the nation, who devote their lives to teaching the next generation.”
The initiative comes as teachers surveyed by national retailer Office Depot said they plan to spend around $320 of their own money to set up their classrooms for the 2023-24 school year.

This year, teachers said their classroom’s priority needs are basic supplies like notebooks and pencils (37%) and organization and storage solutions (23%). Office Depot surveyed 1,000 parents of kids age 5 to 17 and 1,000 K-12 teachers for its third annual Back-to-School Survey, published in July.

More information

Find the full text of the bill, which is being co-sponsored by nine Senate Democrats, here.

U.S. Reps. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., and Sean Casten, D-Ill., are expected to introduce bipartisan companion legislation in the House of Representatives this week.

Sign up for Enews

Related Content


Order a PDF