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Are Business Clothes Tax Deductible?

A court case reminds taxpayers that clothing used for work is generally not tax deductible.  The Tax Court (Barnes TC Memo 2016-79)  held that a clothing sales representative for Ralph Lauren wasn't entitled to deductions for unreimbursed employee expenses he incurred to purchase and maintain clothing for his job. The taxpayer was required to wear the company's apparel while on the job.

However since  the Ralph Lauren clothing was suitable for general or personal wear, the court denied a business deduction. There are many court cases where celebrities were not able to claim tax deductions for their wardrobe as their clothes are also suitable for general or personal wear.

PS: Dog walkers can’t deduct their shoes no matter what a TV commercial tells you.

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Richard Pon CPA, CFP