Everybody can benefit from a little help—it’s almost impossible to be good at everything. For some people, understanding the flowery, wordy language in novels may be a massive effort, or maybe balancing chemical equations gives them grief. For others, the nuances of foreign language grammar rules may not click, or no matter how hard they try, they just can’t get the hang of y = mx + b. For students in high school, they oftentimes don’t even know where to begin when preparing for standardized tests like the ACT and SAT. In whatever area someone struggles with, tutoring can be a helpful resource you can turn to in order to reach their full potential.
Tutoring services is more accessible and prevalent than ever—one only needs to ask around among their family friends, check out their school offices, or do a quick search online. While tutoring is generally considered a worthwhile investment, it’s not always free and the cost can accumulate into quite a lofty sum. Parents and caretakers who are paying the bill might be curious if expenses related to tutoring can be deducted from federal or state income taxes. They may also wonder what other benefits might be available to help offset the cost of these vital supports.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has strict limits on what types of educational expenses qualify for either income-tax deductions or tax credits. Income-tax deductions reduce taxable income, which is the portion of a person’s income that is used to calculate how much they owe to the government displayed on their tax return (not to be confused with gross income). It includes any wages, salaries, bonuses, tips, investment income, and various types of unearned income. Tax credits, on the other hand, reduce taxpayers’ burden by permitting them to subtract what they owe in federal income taxes.
Most of these deductions and credits relate to post-secondary education, meaning things that are related to costs incurred after a student finishes K-12 education. As a result, most types of private tutoring for kindergarten through high school students are not tax-deductible at the federal level. However, there is one key exception:
Students with Disabilities
For students with disabilities, tutoring can be considered a qualifying medical expense. It’s important to remember that the term disability can cover a wide range of medical issues. Disability can refer to:
- Developmental disabilities
- Learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, that are caused by mental or physical impairments, including nervous system disorders
For parents of children with special needs looking to utilize this deduction, they will need to have the necessary paperwork. Qualified tutoring should have been undertaken on the advice of a doctor, which should be provided in writing. Tutoring should be designed to address their specific, additional needs as a result of their disability. The tutor completing the tutoring should be trained and qualified to meet these specific and unique needs.
Some examples of medical expenses that qualify for tax deductions related to tutoring expenses include services that teach Braille to a visually impaired person, teaching lip reading or sign language to a hearing impaired person, or provide remedial language training to someone with a condition caused by a birth defect.
As such, it is important to note that a valid diagnosis of a specific mental or physical impairment is necessary. Someone is having a hard time grasping certain concepts is not a valid reason to claim tutoring as a medical deductible expense.
The Federal Government isn’t the only place that collects taxes though! Some state governments also offer tax benefits to parents and families who want to do more schooling at home. There are currently only four states in the United States that offer these benefits: Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, and Minnesota.
Homeschooling can incur significant costs for families. These include paying for a curriculum, transportation for extra-curricular activities, school supplies ranging from pencils and pens to a microscope for a science lab, and food since students will not be able to access any free or reduced lunch programs.
Four different states offer tax credits or deductions for families who homeschool their children to alleviate some of these costs.
|Illinois||$500||Credit||For Educational Expenses|
|Indiana||$1,000||Deduction||Per Homeschooled Child|
|Louisiana||$5,000||Deduction||50% of Educational Expenses Costs|
|Minnesota||Varies||Credit||For K-12 Education|
Other Government Funding For Tutoring
COVID Relief Funds
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, some states have made new funding available for families to access tutoring or other academic support. California’s budget for Fiscal Year 2022 includes $2.6 billion in funding for educational interventions such as tutoring. Families should inquire with their child’s school or school district to see if they qualify for these funds.
The Federal Government has also approved “micro-grants” through the Department of Education, which would go towards families interested in hiring at-home tutors or teachers. These funds are especially earmarked for students in underserved students, since the money is designed to address inequities exacerbated by the pandemic.
Groups that are categorized as underserved include:
- Students from low-income families
- Students from historically disadvantaged racial or ethnic groups
- Students from disproportionately impacted gender groups
- English learners
- Children with disabilities
- Students experiencing homelessness
- Children and youth in foster care
- Migrant students
The money is also designed to specifically address gaps in technology that were worsened during the pandemic, so the portion of the funds can even be used for technological expenses, such as computers or internet access.
In all, while private tutoring does not generally fall into the tax deductible category, there are certain exemptions and benefits due to current circumstances that can ease its financial burden. Parents and caretakers should contact their tax professional to see what they can qualify for and for help in preparing any necessary documents (like doctor recommendations) that they may need to submit.
Once you’re ready to find the right source for your child’s tutoring, you need to look no further than SoFlo’s Online ACT and SAT tutoring.
SoFlo’s individualized online tutoring is delivered by college students who just aced the tests themselves! Tutors help address student weaknesses, while also encouraging and growing strengths. Getting ready for these tests can be daunting, but students don’t need to face them alone with SoFlo!