Are business clothing purchases deductible?


A common question I heard during tax season was whether or not clothing and shoes purchased specifically for work purposes could be deducted as a business expense.

It seems logical that you should be able to deduct an outfit you only wear for shooting weddings or speaking at events, but unfortunately, that won’t be good enough for the IRS when it comes to deducting the expense.

If your clothing purchase satisfies these requirements found in the IRS Publication 17, then they can be deducted as a business expense. If not, consider them a personal purchase.

  • Clothing must be specifically required by your employer
  • It is not enough that you do not wear your clothes away from work
  • The clothing must not be suitable for taking the place of your regular clothing

Some common jobs that would have clothing that satisfies these requirements include delivery workers, firefighters, and healthcare workers.

IRS Code 414: Retirement Plans and Your Taxes

IRS Code 162: What Is an Ordinary and Necessary Business Expense?


Amy Northard, CPA

The Accountant for Creatives®
+ taxes + bookkeeping + consulting
+ Hang out with me over on Instagram!


  • Kristen Moux says:

    Hallelujah! Thank you for clearing this up! My friends kept saying, “You can write off your shopping expense!” And I was like… hmmm…. it can’t be THAT easy, right? And it isn’t! Thank you for saving me the trouble!!

  • Yemima says:

    Oh my goodness! I was just asking myself this question… thank you!

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