Deducting Uniforms


Today TaxMama® hears from our friend Kristi who is starting a new job. “My new job requires me to wear brown pants and either a certain green or blue shirt.  I would only wear these clothes for work.  Does that qualify as a uniform?”



Dear Kristi,

Good try, but, Sorry, No.

UNIFORMS are deductible.
Uniforms have the company’s logo on them.
They are generally obnoxious, unpleasant, ill-fitting garments, unless you are Ponch on CHIPS – who tailored his uniforms.

Street clothes of a specific color are not uniforms.

Here is how IRS defines Uniforms:

  • You must wear them as a condition of your employment.
  • The clothes are not suitable for everyday wear.

If the clothing meets the definition, like my husband’s school-bus driver outfits, you can deduct the cost and upkeep of work clothes.

Incidentally, IRS doesn’t spell it out, but if you show up for an audit in your uniform, to prove it IS a uniform, IRS has been known to disallow the uniform deduction. Why? Because, since you wore it into the IRS office, clearly, it’s suitable for street wear. I swear. Kind of a Catch-22. They really did that to someone I know!

And remember, you can find answers to all kinds of questions about businesswear and other tax issues, free. Where? Where else? At

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