Tax Tip: Deduct Job-Related Expenses

Editor's Note: This article is part of our 2013 Tax Tips series. Robert Flach is an expert with almost 40 years of experience as a tax professional and also blogs as The Wandering Tax Pro.

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — If you can itemize, you can deduct as a “Miscellaneous Deduction” the expenses required to carry out the job for which you were hired. You can also deduct expenses that are common and accepted in your line of work, those that are appropriate and helpful to your job and those for which you have not been reimbursed by your employer under an “accountable plan.”

ALSO SEE: Tax Credits for Education

Deductible job-related expenses include:

  • Computer hardware and software required by your employer as a condition of employment and not merely for your own convenience.
  • Education required by an employer, by law, or by government regulation, or which maintains or improves skills required in your current trade or business. You cannot deduct education if it is the minimum requirement for a trade or business or prepares one for a new trade or business.
  • Job-Seeking expenses to look for employment in your current line of work. See my TAX TIP on job search expenses.
  • Small tools and supplies used on the job.
  • Travel and entertaining of clients, including business use of your car at 55.5 cents per mile; meals are only 50% deductible.
  • Uniforms and work clothes required as a condition of employment and not adaptable to everyday wear, and safety or protective clothes or equipment.
  • Union and professional dues.

If you claim deductions for travel or meal and entertainment expenses or if you are partially reimbursed you must file Form 2106 or 2106-EZ.

Miscellaneous Deductions, including job-related expenses, are only allowed to the extent the total exceeds 2% of your Adjusted Gross Income. If your AGI is $75,000, the first $1,500 of expenses are not deductible.