Why YOU Should Care:
If you are required to wear a uniform for work, you may be able to deduct the cost of purchasing and maintaining it. Deductions are also available for workers required to wear protective clothing.
When are uniforms deductible?
You can deduct the cost and maintenance of work clothing if the following two requirements are met:
- You MUST wear the item(s) of clothing as a condition of employment, and
- The clothes are not suitable for everyday wear.
Maintenance of a certain dress code – for instance, if you have to wear suits to work every day – does not satisfy the “uniform” test as you could wear these items outside of work. It doesn’t matter if your personal life presents no occasions to wear suits.
Your employer may even require that you wear a white shirt and black pants every day. This outfit does not become a deductible uniform until your employer specifies the exact shirt and pants you wear. Good examples of “uniforms” include flight attendants who must all wear clothing from the company store or delivery men required to wear logo-ed shirts while on the job.
If you are required to wear protective clothing such as safety glasses or reinforced shoes, the cost of these items is deductible. As with any deduction, you can only deduct amounts you spent. If your employer provides a hard hat, you can’t deduct the cost of that item. However, if your employer tells you to provide your own ear protection (in an environment where ear protection is common and necessary) keep your receipts.