Tax Guide

Get answers to all your questions about taxes, personal finance, insurance and more.

Deductible Work Clothes and Uniforms

You can deduct the cost and upkeep of work clothes and uniforms if you must wear them as a condition of your employment and the clothes are not suitable for everyday wear.

The IRS says the clothing must be specifically required by your employer and is not suitable for taking the place of your regular clothing. Some professions that might qualify for the work clothes deduction include firefighters, health care workers, law enforcement officers, and transportation workers.

However, any clothing that could be worn in day-to-day wear would not be covered under this deduction. In the case of a professional athlete, warm-up outfits might be considered suitable for everyday wear, so would not qualify.

Safety clothing purchased for your job is also deductible. This includes hard hats, safety glasses, safety shoes or boots, and work gloves. Some possible professions covered under this provision include carpenters, cement workers, chemical workers, electricians, commercial fishing crew members, machinists, oil field workers, pipefitters, steamfitters and truck drivers.

Military Uniforms

If you are on full-time active duty in the U. S. armed forces, you generally cannot deduct the cost of your uniforms. Reservists, however, can deduct the unreimbursed cost of their uniforms if regulations prohibit you from wearing your uniform when off-duty. In that case, you would reduce the cost by any nontaxable allowance you receive for those expenses.

If local military rules don’t allow you to wear fatigues while off-duty, you can deduct the expense – basically, the cost of buying and maintaining the uniforms, minus any uniform allowance you get.

Students at an armed forces academy cannot deduct the cost of uniforms, but can deduct the cost of insignia, shoulder boards and related items. Civilian faculty or staff at a military school can deduct the cost of uniforms.

See also:
Taxes for the Military


Ready to file your taxes? Start Free!