Info you should know

UFT dues can only be deducted from state taxes now

Educators need to be aware that, under the new federal tax law, union dues and other miscellaneous itemized deductions are no longer permitted.

But as a result of state legislation passed in April 2017 thanks to union lobbying, union members in New York State may deduct their union dues from their state income taxes if they itemize deductions on their state taxes.

If you are an eligible educator, you can still deduct from your federal income taxes up to $250 of any unreimbursed expenses in 2018 for books, supplies, computer equipment (including related software and services), other equipment and supplementary materials you use in the classroom, according to the IRS.

If you are married, filing jointly and both spouses are educators, you can deduct up to $500, but not more than $250 each. For courses in health and physical education, expenses for supplies are qualified expenses only if they are related to athletics.

The educator expense is an “adjustment to gross income” so you can use it if you use the standard deduction or itemize on your tax return.

In the past, teachers also were permitted to deduct more than the $250 by deducting unreimbursed employee expenses on Schedule A — the amount that exceeds 2 percent of your adjusted gross income. Besides union dues, those expenses could also include travel and anything related to the job that was paid out of pocket and not reimbursed by the school. President Trump’s tax overhaul did away with those miscellaneous deductions as well.

You should keep documentation, such as receipts or canceled checks, for any deduction you take. For all income tax questions, see IRS Publication 529 for miscellaneous deductions and IRS Publication 17.

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