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Deduction for work clothing & uniforms

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Under the right scenario, work related "uniforms" are tax deductible.

Over the years, the court's have established three criteria that an employee must satisfy before claiming a tax deduction for work-related clothing:
1. Is the clothing required or essential in the taxpayer's employment?
2. Is the clothing not suitable for wear outside of work?
3. Does the taxpayer in fact not wear the clothing outside of work?

Number 2 is what trips up most taxpayers.  While a nice business suit or polo shirt may be necessary ( or even required) for your business, the fact is these types of clothing can be worn on any occasion.    Simply choosing to never wear a suit outside of work does not count.  Therefore, not deductible.

While Section 262 provides that no deduction is allowed for personal, living, or family expenses - which would generally include clothing, Section 162 permits a deduction for expense incurred in carrying on a trade or business; and while we tend to think only of self-employed people or shareholders or partners of a corporation or partnership of conducting a business, an employee is in the business of being an employee. Thus, any expense an employee incurs related to his employ that is not reimbursed by the employer may generally be deducted as an "unreimbursed employee expense" on the employee's tax return. Unfortunately, such deductions are limited.

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