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Can I write off my business attire?

George SaenzDear Tax Talk,
I switched jobs. I was allowed to wear business casual at my previous job, but my new job requires formal business attire and I had to buy multiple suits/shoes/dresses. As I incurred those expenses due to my job, are they deductible? Thanks.
-- Mari

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Dear Mari,
While looking good is important, it doesn't mean Uncle Sam is going to pay for it. Basically, the only clothing items that are deductible for tax purposes would be uniforms used in your employment that would not be adaptable for everyday use. That means that pilots, nurses and mechanics can write off the cost of their uniforms, but ordinary office wear would not be considered a uniform.

So, you don't get the deduction, even though you wear the clothes only at work. It doesn't matter that the purchases are as a result of your change in employment, either.

Similarly dry cleaning expenses of uniforms used in work would be considered an employee business expense. Employee business expenses are miscellaneous itemized deductions subject to reduction by 2 percent of your adjusted gross income.

However, dry cleaning of your business clothes would be considered a personal expense and not deductible. There would not be any distinction between footwear and clothing.

-- Posted: April 27, 2005





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