Employee Business Deductions List

As an employee there are quite a few business expenses that you can deduct.  You can deduct any unreimbursed expenses or the difference between your actual expenses and any amounts that you have been reimbursed for.  Check the list below for possible deductions, make sure that you keep accurate records of your expenditures, and make sure the expense meets the IRS criteria.

To take these deductions, use Form 2106, Employee Business Expenses, or Schedule A Line 20.  Remember these expenses are reduced by 2% of Adjusted Gross Income.

Items You Can Deduct If You Are an Employee

  • Books for your trade or profession
  • Business bad debt of an employee
  • Business liability insurance premiums
  • Damages you pay to a former employer for a breach of an employment contract
  • Depreciation on job-related equipment that you purchased – includes computers and cellular phones
  • Dry-cleaning costs for your uniforms or protective clothing.  Everyday clothing is excluded
  • Dues to a professional society, if the organization represents people in your profession
  • Dues to chambers of commerce and similar organizations, if the membership helps you carry out your job duties and the organization’s main purpose is not to provide entertainment or entertainment facilities
  • Educational expenses related to your present job
  • Entertainment Expenses – 50% of Entertainment costs that are directly related to business or are associated with business
  • Expenses for an office in your home if part of the home is used regularly and exclusively for your work and if use of your
    home office is for the convenience of your employer
  • Gifts, but only up to $25 per recipient
  • Job dismissal insurance premiums
  • Job search expenses (see details below)
  • Laboratory breakage fees
  • Legal fees related to your job
  • Licenses and regulatory fees
  • Malpractice insurance premiums
  • Meal expenses – 50% of meals that are directly related to business or are associated with business
  • Medical exams required by your employer
  • Occupational taxes if they are charged at a flat rate by your city or other local government for the privilege of working in
    that area
  • Passport for a business trip
  • Protective clothing and gear
  • Regulatory fees for your profession
  • Repayment of an income aid payment received under an employer’s plan
  • Research expenses of a college professor
  • Rural mail carriers’ vehicle expenses
  • Safety equipment, such as hard hats, safety glasses, safety boots, and gloves
  • Specialized clothing designed for your job, as long as they’re not suitable for everyday wear
  • Subscriptions to professional journals and trade magazines related to your work
  • Supplies you use on your job
  • Teachers’ Expense Deduction – Eligible educators are entitled to an above-the-line deduction of up to $250 per year for unreimbursed expenses incurred in connection with books, supplies, computer equipment and other physical equipment, and supplementary materials used in the classroom – set to expire after 12/31/05
  • Tools and supplies used in your work
  • Transportation between your home and a temporary work location if you have at least one regular workplace for this employment; it doesn’t matter how far away the temporary location is in this case
  • Transportation from one job to another if you work two places in one day
  • Travel costs incurred while away from home on business for your employer
  • Travel costs paid in connection with a temporary assignment
  • Uniforms (unless you’re full-time active duty in the armed forces)
  • Union assessments for benefit payments to unemployed union members
  • Union dues
  • Union initiation fees

Deductible Job Search Expenses

  • Advertising
  • Career counseling to assist you in improving your position
  • Employment agency fees
  • Executive recruiters’ fees
  • Legal and accounting fees you pay in connection with employment contract negotiations and preparation
  • Long-distance calls to prospective employers
  • Meal expenses – 50% of meals you pay for when they are directly related to your job search
  • Newspapers you purchase to read the employment ads
  • Other business publications you purchase to read the employment ads
  • Portfolio preparation costs
  • Resume preparation
  • Transportation costs when traveling to job interviews
  • Travel to get a job.  If you take a trip away from home to look for a new job, your expenses for traveling, lodging, meals (50%), etc., are deductible only if the primary purpose of your trip is to look for a job.