Many industries require their employees to wear certain work clothes or uniforms. As long as you can’t wear these clothes every day as street wear, and donning the uniforms is mandatory at your place of employment, you’ll likely be able to deduct the cost of these work clothes on your tax return.
In order to qualify for deduction, the IRS requires that all items worn are not suitable to replace your general wardrobe, and are a condition of your employment. For example, firefighters, nurses, police officers, transportation authority workers, and pilots are just a few of the professions where an employee would qualify for uniform deduction. Clothing that can be worn on a regular day, such as warm-up clothes worn by a professional athlete (think like shorts and t-shirts), do not qualify for deduction.
Certain safety clothing, such as hard hats, glasses, steel toed boots, and work gloves that you are required to wear for your job may also be deductible. This means carpenters, masons, chemists, electricians, commercial fisherman, machinists, miners, and truck drivers can deduct their safety expenses.
Full-time active duty military personnel typically cannot deduct the cost of their uniforms. If you are in the army reserve though, you can deduct the cost of your uniforms that was not reimbursed, as long as you can wear the uniforms when you’re not on duty. In some cases you may need to deduct nontaxable allowance you received for your expense.
If you can wear your fatigues while you’re not on duty, because of local military regulations, then you may be able to deduct the expense. You’ll be able to deduct the cost of purchase and upkeep of the uniform, but you’ll have to subtract any uniform reimbursement or allowances.
If you are military students, you won’t be able to deduct the cost of uniform however, insignia shoulder rewards and other related items may qualify for deduction. Civilian faculty and staff can deduct any uniform costs when they are employed by a military school.