TurboTax / Tax Calculators & Tips / All Tax Guides / Tax Deductions and Credits / How to Use Work Clothes As a Tax Deduction

How to Use Work Clothes As a Tax Deduction

Updated for Tax Year 2014


OVERVIEW

If you have to buy a smart new suit for your paralegal job or uniforms for your National Guard duties, it might seem these are obvious work expenses and valid tax deductions. Not necessarily, according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Work clothes that can double as street or evening clothes are no more deductible than anything else in your closet. To claim a deduction for buying clothes, the clothes have to be mandatory for your job and unsuitable for everyday wear.


Get every deduction you deserve

TurboTax Deluxe searches more than 350 tax deductions and credits so you get your maximum refund, guaranteed.

Start for Free

Step 1: Which work clothes are necessary and usable only for work?

Determine which work clothes are necessary for your job but not suitable to wear outside of work. However, just buying clothes specifically for work and never wearing them at any other time isn't good enough. The IRS has accepted deductions for theatrical costumes, hard hats and other safety gear. Among the items that do not qualify are overalls, white dress shirts, and bibs even if required on the job site. For example, even though your company requires you to wear a suit each day, you cannot deduct their cost since you can wear the suits to weddings, job interviews and other occasions that don't relate to work.

Step 2: Document your employer’s policies

Keep a copy of your employer's policy. For example, a pilot was able to present written proof that his employer required him to wear shoes not suitable for everyday use and to incur costs of having them polished regularly when the IRS questioned his deduction. The pilot was ultimately able to deduct the cost of the shoes as well as the expense of keeping them polished.

Step 3: Save your receipts

If the IRS asks any questions, receipts provide proof that you spent the money on the clothes you are claiming a deduction for. Receipts for the amounts you spend maintaining your work clothes, such as for dry cleaning, shoe-shining and tailoring services are equally important since these costs are deductible too.

Step 4: Claiming the deduction

Include your clothing costs with your other "miscellaneous itemized deductions" on the Schedule A attachment to your tax return. Work clothes are among the miscellaneous deductions that are only deductible to the extent the total exceeds 2 percent of your adjusted gross income. Add all the deductions in this category together — other deductions include work-related travel, work tools and professional journals — and subtract two percent of your adjusted gross income. This is the amount you can deduct.

Remember, when you use TurboTax, we’ll help you determine which clothing qualifies for this deduction, and we’ll calculate how much you can deduct.

Tips

  • Military uniforms can be used off duty, so are not a guaranteed deduction unless the rules prevent you from wearing them outside of work. If you receive a clothing allowance or other type of reimbursement, then you must reduce your deductible expense by the amount of allowance you receive.
  • You can find your adjusted gross income on the last line of the first page of your Form 1040.

The above article is intended to provide generalized financial information designed to educate a broad segment of the public; it does not give personalized tax, investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek the assistance of a professional who knows your particular situation for advice on taxes, your investments, the law, or any other business and professional matters that affect you and/or your business.

* Important Offer Details and Disclosures
  • Try for Free/Pay When You File: TurboTax Online pricing is based on your tax situation and varies by product. Actual prices are determined at the time of print or e-file and are subject to change without notice.
  • TurboTax CD/Download products: Price includes tax preparation and printing of federal tax returns and free federal efile of up to 5 federal tax returns. Additional fees apply for efiling state returns. E-file fees do not apply to New York state returns. Prices subject to change without notice.
  • TurboTax Mobile: Actual prices are determined at the time of print or efile and are subject to change without notice. Come back here before you file to confirm that the price has not changed, especially if it's been a while since you downloaded this app.
  • Anytime, anywhere: Internet access required; standard message and data rates apply to download and use mobile app features and content. TurboTax mobile app devices supported include Android 4.1 and above, iOS 8 on iPhone 4s and above, and iPad 2.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with efile and direct deposit; tax refund timeframes will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: A $34.99 Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice.
  • About our TurboTax Product Experts: Customer service and product support (phone or chat) vary by time of year. Phone support not included with Free Edition.
  • About our credentialed tax experts: Live tax advice service is available for your toughest tax questions; fees may apply. Service, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice. Click here for full terms and conditions. Not available for TurboTax Business customers.
  • Get up to 10% on top of your federal refund: Amazon.com Gift Card offer is for federal refunds only. Limits apply ($2000 per e-card, maximum $10,000 per customer). Offer available only for TurboTax Online (except Federal Free Edition) or CD/download versions sold and shipped, or downloaded directly from Intuit or Amazon. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards cannot be canceled, transferred for value or redeemed for cash.

    Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ('GCs') cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2013 TurboTax products.
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars: Average based on customer ratings on TurboTax.com for TurboTax Online and CD/download products tax year 2014, as of January 2015.
  • Most Popular: TurboTax Deluxe is our most popular product among TurboTax Online users with more complex tax situations.
  • TurboTax CD/Download priority phone support: Priority phone support for TurboTax CD/Download Premier and Home & Business is accessible exclusively via the TurboTax.com Help Center.
  • Benefit Assist: After you file, TurboTax automatically shows you a full list of government benefits you may qualify for, like Food Stamps or reduced phone & utilities. Plus, we help you apply, saving you time and making it easier than ever to get more money! Estimate based on calculation of Benefit Assist users from tax year 2013 and published reports of average benefit and savings amounts from federal and state programs. Actual amounts and qualifications based on your individual situation; some individuals will not qualify. Feature may not be available for all customers.
  • Simplified State Experience: New, simplified state tax preparation available for most filers.
  • Eligibility for $25 cash back for returning Deluxe customers: Customers who have completed their 2013 taxes in TurboTax Deluxe (CD or download), and have completed their 2014 taxes in either TurboTax Premier or TurboTax Home & Business (CD or download), and apply here before 11:59PM PDT April 20, 2015, are eligible for $25 back. 2014 TurboTax Advantage users are ineligible for this offer. Terms and conditions are subject to change without notice.
  • $0 Upgrade Offer: Valid for customers who filed their 2013 taxes with TurboTax Deluxe (CD or download), completed prior year data transfer this year, and encounter an upgrade to either 2014 TurboTax Premier or 2014 TurboTax Home & Business (CD or download). Valid February 6, 2015 through April 20, 2015. TurboTax Advantage users are ineligible for this offer. This offer may not be combined with our $25 cash back offer. Terms and conditions are subject to change without notice.