How To Use Work Clothes As A Tax Deduction


Most jobs require you to wear a specific type of attire while you are at work. If you are an accountant who works at a firm full of CPAs, the company may require you to wear a suit. If you’ve never worn a suit before or have one in your closet, this will become an expense that’s work-related. In some cases, you can deduct the cost of your work clothes from your tax bill. However, the Internal Revenue Service is specific as to which types of work clothes they allow to be deducted.

Necessary Clothing Only Usable For Work

To understand which types of clothing the IRS will allow you to deduct from your taxes, their policy must be considered. The IRS has chosen to only allow deductions for items such as safety gear, hard hats or theatrical costumes. These type of items fall into a category where you would only wear them for work. If you are required to purchase a specific item for your job but that item can also be used for everyday wear, it cannot be deducted from your taxes. So, if you had to purchase a new suit for your accounting job, you would not be able to use this as a deduction on taxes as it does not qualify under current IRS guidelines. You would be able to wear your suit to social gatherings, weddings or other occasions that are non-work related.

Jobs that usually fit the description of this policy include chemical workers, carpenters, electricians, machinists or truck drivers, just to name a few. These jobs typically require you to wear other types of safety equipment that you would not wear in your everyday life.

Documenting the Policy of Your Employer

If you’re going to deduct your work clothes from your taxes, it’s important to keep a copy of the employee policy that states what you are required to wear on your job. This allows you to show proof of the requirement if you ever get questioned by the Internal Revenue Service.

Keep Your Receipts

You also need to keep any receipts that you receive after purchasing any work clothes that you are required to wear. In addition, if you ever have to spend any money maintaining your work clothes, you should keep the receipts for those services as well. This would include money spent on tailoring, dry cleaning or other types of maintenance.

Claim Your Deduction

When you fill out your yearly federal income tax form, there will be an area on Schedule A that allows you to include your “miscellaneous itemized deductions.” This is where you would list the work clothes that you had to buy for your job. You would also add expenses for work-related tools, travel or journals

It’s important to follow the guidelines set by the IRS. If you are unsure as to which type of clothing or safety equipment you can deduct, it may be best to speak with an accountant who has a deep understanding of the rules.