You have an upcoming conference and need a new suit or dress.
Can you deduct that purchase as a business expense?
What about if you have an important business meeting with a new client, and your shoes have seen better days?
Can you deduct the cost of the new shoes as a business expense?
You may be surprised to learn that in both of these situations, the IRS’ position is likely no, you cannot deduct them.
According to the IRS, in order for clothing to be deductible, it needs to be distinctive and not appropriate for everyday use.
So, if you buy protective boots for your construction employees or if you are a self-employed doctor or nurse and you buy scrubs, those are likely a “yes.”
But if you purchase clothing that is normally worn outside of the business, such as a suit/dress or shoes, those items will generally not be deductible, regardless of whether you personally do so or not.
The above discussion is only if you have a business (LLC, Corp, 1099, etc.). If you’re a W-2 employee, however, you can generally never deduct clothing or other work-related costs.