Can I Deduct My Wardrobe?


You can deduct all kinds of things: gas, medical expenses, travel costs, union dues…. But can you deduct your wardrobe? Is your clothing fair game, or are they a case of “Thou Shalt Not Deduct”?

At Hacker Accounting, we know what’s safe to write-off and what can get you in trouble. Can you deduct your wardrobe? We’ve got the answer: It depends on how you answer these three questions.

Related: How Your Accountant Can Help You Manage Your Investments

Is It For Work Use Only?

The biggest factor that determines whether or not your wardrobe is deductible is if it’s necessary for your work but unsuitable to wear outside of work. You can’t deduct suits, white dress shirts, overalls, and over forms of formal/casual wear that can be worn outside the workplace. When you’re thinking of deducting a piece of your wardrobe, ask yourself if that piece could be worn in any other context. Could you wear it to a job interview, a dinner party, a wedding, or out on a Saturday night date? If the answer is yes, you’re going to have a hard time convincing the IRS that you’re ONLY wearing those clothes for work and nothing else.

Did You Get Reimbursed?

You can deduct uniforms and clothes that are specifically designed for your job. There is a catch: It is NOT deductible if it is an expense that’s covered by your job. If you get reimbursed by your work for your work clothes, you can’t write it off.

If you are buying a necessary-for-work-only article of clothing that you’re paying for out of pocket, you can deduct. Especially if it’s safety gear like hard hats. What you CAN deduct can surprise you. For example: You can deduct theatrical costumes, so actors and theater departments should always save their receipts.

Do You Know Your Workplace Policies?

Read up on and understand your workplace’s clothing policies. In the event that you get audited or any of your deductions get challenged, you need to be able to justify it by outlining how the clothes you’re writing off are necessary for your work. So if you HAVE to wear a special kind of boot for you, make a note of that policy in case you write those boots off. When it comes to tax preparation and protecting yourself, you can never have too many records to back yourself up.

Related: 6 Reasons To Itemize Your Tax Return

For more information on what you can and can’t deduct, give Hacker Accounting a call at 602-375-5251.

Chris Hacker
Chris has been working in the bookkeeping and accounting field for over 15 years preparing business, income and payroll taxes. Chris has a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State and is an Enrolled Agent with the Internal Revenue Service.