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How to Get Money Back for Tutoring Costs

Many parents despair when they learn that tutoring, educational therapy, or other types of learning assistance is not covered by insurance. Even when there is a diagnosis, getting the needed academic support and cognitive remediation can be an expensive prospect. To make matters worse, more and more families are acquiring support outside of the schools, so the “academic bar” of classroom expectations is continually elevated. As a result, with growing competition for desirable college acceptances, for those who cannot afford this outside support, their children are often placed at a profound disadvantage.

You Often Get What You Pay For:
Like many things, the more finances you can allocate for professional help, the better the services. Large tutoring franchises do not have the funds to hire highly trained professionals, and if they do have some talented employees, they rarely offer one to one assistance. What’s more, they tend to place kids onto boring workbooks, and they offer something similar to schools - a "cookie-cutter approach." Clearly, one to one support can come with a high price tag. So what can be done to help make this a viable option?

Tax deductions and Medical Expense Accounts:
Did you know that you might be able to "write off" tutoring expenses off your taxable income or use a medical expense account?  With a doctor's recommendation, a tutor, learning specialist, or educational therapist that is trained in working with students with learning disabilities can be included in medical expenses. Even attending a school that offers special services can be included.  If you want to learn more about this opportunity, go to IRS document 502. Under the heading Special Education, on page 13, it states the following:

“You can include in medical expenses fees you pay on a doctor's recommendation for a child's tutoring by a teacher who is specially trained and qualified to work with children who have learning disabilities caused by mental or physical impairments, including nervous system disorders. You can include in medical expenses the cost (tuition, meals, and lodging) of attending a school that furnishes special education to help a child to overcome learning disabilities. For expenses to be deductible, a doctor must recommend that the child attend the school. Overcoming the learning disabilities must be a principal reason for attending the school, and any ordinary education received must be incidental to the special education provided. Special education includes: Teaching Braille to a visually impaired person, Teaching lip reading to a hearing disabled person, or Giving remedial language training to correct a condition caused by a birth defect. You can't include in medical expenses the cost of sending a child with behavioral problems to a school where the course of study and the disciplinary methods have a beneficial effect on the child's attitude if the availability of medical care in the school.” Click on the following link to access the document: /irs-pdf/p502.pdf

So whether you are a parent searching for affordable tutoring or you are an academic instructor, knowing about this opportunity can create possibilities for many families.

I hope you found this helpful.

Cheers, Erica
Dr. Erica Warren, Learning Specialist & Educational Therapist

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator, and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning. She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Learning Specialist Courses.

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