Uniforms and Work Clothing

Did you know that as a self employed individual you may be able to deduct the cost of the clothing you wear for your business? Generally, not all the clothing you wear to work will be deductible, however, the costs you incur to purchase uniforms or other work-specific attire can usually be deducted in full on your Schedule C.


Andrew is a tasker who installs home entertainment systems and fixes household appliances for his neighbors. In July, he spent $50 on a tool belt and $15 on heavy duty gloves to use on the job. Since these clothing costs are required for his business and not suitable to be worn outside of the workplace, Andrew would be able to deduct the $65 of clothing expenses on his Schedule C.


Erin is the founder of a tech startup with two employees based in Silicon Valley. Last year, she participated in a pitch competition and purchased three bright colored hoodies with her company logo on them for herself and her team to wear during their presentation. Since this clothing was branded with her logo and it served a specific business purpose, she could deduct the cost of all three hoodies on her Schedule C.


Cole recently started his own lobbying firm in Washington, DC.. Since Cole's job requires him to meet with congresspeople and senators on a daily basis, he thought is important that his professional wardrobe be extensive and refined. Last year Cole spent $18,000 on 10 suits, 20 dress shirts, 15 ties and 5 pairs of shoes. Even though looking professional could be considered a requirement of his Job, Cole would not be able to deduct the $18,000 he spent on his business attire because it could be considered suitable for everyday wear.


Issa, a self employed painter from Chicago, Illinois works every day from a studio in her garage. To help improve her creativity, she wears a line up of different tie dye shirts that inspire her. Even though she claims these shirts help her produce her work, they would not be considered deductible because the could be suitable for everyday wear. Issa could however deduct the cost of her smock, since this would be considered an ordinary and necessary business expense and it is likely not something she would wear outside of her studio.


Olivia is a sole proprietor and owner of Olivclean, a professional cleaning service. To present a professional image, Olivia wears a polo shirt with her logo on it whenever she is working. Naturally, her clothing gets pretty dirty when she is on the job and last year she spent $500 on drycleaning her branded polos. Since her work shirts could be considered a uniform required for her business, in addition to deducting the cost of the clothing, she could also deduct the $500 she spent on dry cleaning on line 27a of her Schedule C.


  • You can generally deduct the cost of clothing you use in your business if the clothes could be considered an ordinary and necessary business expense and are not suitable for everyday wear.
  • If you determine your clothing to be deductible, you will also be able to deduct the cost of any incidental expenses associated with your work clothing, including but not limited to tailoring, laundry and drycleaning.
  • If you work in a professional setting, keep in mind that formal work attire, such as a suit or dress will likely not be deductible since these articles of clothing are also suitable for everyday wear.
  • In addition to deducting certain clothing expenses for yourself, you can deduct the cost of clothing purchased for your employees if it is not suitable for everyday wear and is to be used exclusively in your business.
  • Self employed individuals who deduct the cost of work clothing are not subject to the 2% of AGI deduction limit employees must adhere to when deducting miscellaneous expenses on their Schedule A.

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