Monday, February 17, 2014

Tax Break for Unusual Work Clothing

The Swedish musical group Abba recently admitted that they wore outlandish clothing in the 1970s in order to benefit from a Swedish tax deduction for clothes not used for daily wear, such as spangles and sparkles. For any aspiring Agnethas, Bjorns, Bennys, and Anni-Frids in the United States, American tax law has a similar rule for work-related clothing. 

In Donnelly v. Commissioner, the court concluded that the handicapped taxpayer could not deduct $65 of expenses on work clothes and aprons that he wore in his plastics polisher job, because the clothes must meet all three of the following requirements in order to be tax deductible:
1.  the clothing is of a type specifically required as a condition of employment,
2. it is not adaptable to general usage as ordinary clothing, and
3. it is not so worn.

So an American musician can develop a persona where unusual clothing is required as part of her act, the clothing cannot be worn normally on the streets, and she does not wear them normally on the streets.  In the landmark case of Donald Victor Teschner v. Commissioner, a part-time backup guitar player for Rod Stewart was able to deduct the costs of some of his "flashy" and "loud" items, but not his underwear. 

No comments:

Post a Comment