can you write off work clothes

can you write off work clothes

Can You Write Off Work Clothes?

There’s no denying it, having appropriate clothes for work can be quite expensive. Oftentimes, having to purchase clothes that you may never wear outside of work can be a struggle. For this reason, you may be wondering if it’s possible to write off work clothes as a business expense. The answer is yes – however, it’s important to understand the requirements in order to ensure that you are still classified as a legitimate business expense.

What Items Qualify For A Business Write-Off

Generally, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) states that any uniform or clothing item that is required as a condition of employment and is not suitable for everyday use outside of the job is eligible to be written off. For example, uniforms, traditional clerical attire, safety gear (hardhat, gloves, boots, etc.), and special clothing that is used to protect the employee against weather-related elements (for example cold-weather gear for those who work in refrigerated stores for example) are all commonly allowable expenses.

Requirements for Deducting Clothing as a Business Expense

In order to qualify for a business write-off, there are certain criteria you must meet. The criteria set by the IRS is as follows:

  • The clothing must be mandatory and not suitable for everyday wear. Any item of clothing that can also be used for everyday wear outside of work does not qualify for a business expense write-off.
  • You must have purchased the clothing. You cannot write off clothing that was a gift or given to you without purchasing.
  • You must provide a receipt. It’s important to keep a copy of the receipt in case you are audited.
  • You may only deduct clothing that you haven’t written off as a personal expense.

The Bottom Line

Having to purchase special clothing items for your job can really add up. In that case, it’s essential to stay informed on the criteria for tax write-offs to potentially save you money come tax season. Unfortunately, simply wearing an item to work isn’t enough for it to be considered a legitimate business expense – but if you have purchased items that fit the criteria as stated by the IRS, you may be able to deduct it. Just make sure to have all of your documentation in order prior to submitting your expenses to the IRS.

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