Tax Tips: Suit Up & Deduct

You can deduct the cost of uniforms and work clothes that are required as a condition of employment and not adaptable to everyday wear.

The uniforms of firefighters, nurses, police officers, security guards and the like are deductible, as well as special jackets, hats, shirts and ties with a company logo, such as those worn by fast food workers and maintenance employees.

When I worked in an accounting firm I was “required” to wear a suit and tie every day. But that uniform was, and is, not deductible because it was “adaptable to everyday wear.” The special colored jacket with a Century 21 logo is deductible, but not the suit jacket of the businessman.

Protective safety boots, clothing, hard hats, glasses, gloves and thermals, such as those used in certain construction trades, are deductible. And so are special theatrical costumes that are used by actors and entertainers.

Many years ago we had a client who was referred to as the “wig lady.” She was a retail store detective and purchased several different colored wigs specifically to change her appearance in the course of her undercover work looking for shoplifters. She was able to deduct the cost of these wigs as a business expense.

You can also deduct the cost of cleaning and maintaining work clothes and uniforms, such as the expense of dry cleaning a police officer’s dress uniform or a Century 21 salesman’s jacket.

— Robert D. Flach

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