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Video: Tax Deductions for Employment Related Expenses

Updated for Tax Year 2017


OVERVIEW

One of the nice things about being an employee is that employers often provide you with everything you need to do your job. But sometimes—you just can't avoid having to pay for some work-related expenses yourself. To find out more about how to deduct these expenses, watch this video.


 

Beginning in 2018, unreimbursed employee expenses are no longer eligible for a tax deduction on your federal tax return however, some states such as California continue to provide a deduction on your state tax return if you qualify.

Video transcript:

Hello, I’m Jill from TurboTax with some important information about deductions you can take for the expenses you incur at work.

One of the nice things about being an employee is that employers often provide you with everything you need to do your job. But sometimes—you just can’t avoid having to pay for some work-related expenses yourself. If you ever find yourself paying for office supplies, business phone calls, uniforms, business trips, or using your car for work, you should know that you may be able to deduct some of these expenses on your tax return.

Essentially, the IRS lets you deduct expenses that are ordinary and necessary for your line of work and that help you do your job. But if your employer reimburses you and doesn’t include the payment on your W-2 form, you won’t be able to take a deduction for those expenses.

There are a few other things you should know about your employment related expense deductions.

You can only take the deduction if you elect to itemize instead of claiming the standard deduction. And even when you do itemize, you can’t take a deduction for the full amount of your expenses. This is because you report your employment related expenses as miscellaneous deductions that must be reduced by 2 percent of your adjusted gross income.

Here’s how this works: you total up all miscellaneous deductions that are subject to the 2 percent adjusted gross income limitation, which includes all of your employment related expenses. You then take 2 percent of your adjusted gross income and subtract it from the total. The result is the amount that you can add to other itemized deductions on Schedule A.

Basically, the higher your adjusted gross income is, the lower your deduction for employment related expenses will be.

There are, however, two employment related expenses you can deduct that aren’t subject to this adjusted gross income limitation and don’t require that you itemize. If you ever move to a new area to work at a new job or because your employer transfers you to a different office, some of your moving expenses may be deductible. And if you work at a school that enrolls students between the kindergarten and 12th grade level, you may be able to take a $250 educator expense income adjustment for some of the classroom supplies you purchase.

Remember, when you use TurboTax to file your tax return, we’ll ask you simple questions about your job expenses to get you the biggest deduction possible.

Beginning with the 2018 tax year, unreimbursed employee expenses are no longer deductible as an itemized deduction.

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