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Washington, D.C. - Today, Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06) introduced the Safe Teachers Assistance and Return To School (STARTS) Act to assist educators who have returned to the workplace for in-person teaching. The legislation increases and extends the educator expense deduction for teachers purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE) out-of-pocket. 

"In-person learning is vital for students. As our schools have reopened and continue to return to normal, we must support our teachers and their efforts to keep everyone safe. Teachers know what it takes to ensure a safe learning environment, and this legislation will help reduce the financial burden of any out-of-pocket purchases they make.” said Emmer. 

"This tax break will give our teachers and educators the relief they need to continue supporting our educational institutions and our nation’s students. These teachers deserve our support as they assume the responsibility of safely operating our schools.” Emmer concluded. 

Specifically, the STARTS Act temporarily increases the current teacher tax credit from $250 to $1,500 for the 2020 and 2021 tax years. The increase is dedicated to the out-of-pocket purchase of PPE, which includes masks and sanitization supplies. This legislation also allows any unused deductions from 2020 to be rolled into 2021, providing educators the opportunity to use a full $3,000 deduction by the end of the 2021 tax year.

A recently proposed coronavirus relief package in the Senate would have provided much-needed education relief, including emergency education freedom grants, tax credits for scholarship-granting organizations, 529 account funding, as well as critical resources for the Education Stabilization Fund. Unfortunately, Senate Democrats blocked this measure from consideration.

Read the Safe Teachers Assistance and Return To School (STARTS) Act here