How to deduct work clothing costs

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Q. My son is getting a job at a small television station and he needs to buy clothes for when he’s on TV. Can he deduct those costs?
— Trying to help

A. Congrats to your son on his new job, but no, he can’t take the deduction.

The IRS does allow a deduction for work clothes but only if the clothes are required for work and not suitable for “everyday use,” said Howard Hook, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with EKS Associates in Princeton.

He said the terminology used by the IRS when describing items that can be deducted is if the item is “not suitable for everyday use.” It does not say “worn for everyday use.”

“So even though your son is required to wear a suit and a tie for work and even if he claimed he never wears a suit outside of work, the cost of the suit is not deductible because a suit and tie is suitable for everyday use,” Hook said.

Examples of clothing that qualifies would be protective clothing such as hard hats, gloves or safety shoes, Hook said. Non-protective clothing such as uniforms worn by delivery men or firefighters are other examples of deductible expenses, he said.

If your son has to move for the new job, he may be eligible to deduct his moving expenses. He should also read these tips before starting the job, and this before he signs up for his 401(k) plan.

Email your questions to moc.p1532260994leHye1532260994noMJN1532260994@ksA1532260994. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.