Before you head out on a beginning of the year shopping spree, let’s figure out if your new clothes are going to be deductible. Uniforms and work clothes are deductible if:
- The taxpayer must wear them as a condition of employment, AND
- The clothes are not suitable for everyday wear. (that AND is very important)
- It is not enough that the taxpayer wear unique or distinctive clothing on the job, or that the taxpayer does not, in fact, wear the work clothing away from the job.
Loosely translated, this means if you’re required to wear a nice suit to the office, you can also wear that same suit to church, to dinner, out on the town, or a myriad of other places. That suit falls in the not deductible category. Maybe you’re a painter and need to wear a white shirt, cap, and overalls. Are those items deductible? I’m afraid not. Those clothes you paint in can be worn other places, although it’s unlikely that you want to go very many places covered in paint. First responders who must wear a uniform on the job and have to buy that uniform will find that it is indeed, deductible. Steel toed boots for construction workers or other jobs are deductible. Do you wear a uniform with your name embroidered on it? Deductible. Do you wear some kind of costume? Deductible.
These are just a few examples of clothing that are and are not deductible on your tax return. If you are unsure about your particular situation, contact your tax professional.