Can You Deduct the Cost of Your Work Clothing?

"Can I deduct this on my taxes?" is a common question this time of year. Itemizing your deductions can be tricky and time-consuming, especially when you have a lot of business-related expenses, but it can save you money in the long run if you do it correctly.  

The tax guide on breaks down how to tell if your work clothing is deductible or not. The two key aspects in determining if you can deduct the clothing expenses are that the clothing must be specifically required by your employer and is not suitable for everyday wear.

  • If your employer requires a uniform, it is likely deductible. This might include scrubs or lab coats for medical professionals, uniforms for law enforcement or firefighters, or costumes for performers. 
  • You cannot deduct costs if you're required to wear certain types of clothing if it is still suitable for everyday wear (i.e. a suit and tie for a business professional, a blue button-down shirt for a salesperson, or clothing from the retail store you work at).
  • If your employment requires specific protective gear, such as steel-toed boots, protective gloves, or hard hats, you may deduct these expenses.

In the event your clothing is deductible, make sure you have proof that it is required by your employer. This can be accomplished by making yourself a copy of the company's written policy or asking your supervisor to send you an email detailing the uniform or safety gear requirements. You'll also want to keep your receipts from purchasing the clothing or gear. File these two things with your tax documents so you're prepared to justify your deduction if you're ever audited.

The Certified Public Accountants at Foster Financial are experts in tax preparation, including determining what expenses are deductible and what aren't. Contact us today, and we'll help ensure you get all the deductions you've earned.