Can I Deduct Work Boots On My Taxes? [Detailed Discussion]

In some cases, tax deductions may be available for both self-employed individuals and employees who are forced to wear work boots while on the job.

This post will provide you with a great deal of information.

  • For a work boot to be qualified for a tax write-off, it must perform certain functions.
  • a method via which one can arrive to this conclusion
  • as well as how to reduce the likelihood of an IRS audit.

Always remember that the purpose of this article is to assist you in understanding the laws and regulations of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the United States.

Disclaimer: This article does not contain any legal or financial advice; it is just intended to serve as a source of educational information. If you want professional assistance from someone who is competent to do so, you should see an attorney or an accountant.

Who is eligible for a tax deduction for protective work boots?

Both self-employed and employed individuals can claim a tax deduction for protective work boots as long as they are necessary for the job.


If you work for another person, you can claim a pair of work boots, as well as any other protective equipment, as a tax deduction if your supervisor required you to wear the work boots.


If you are self-employed, you may deduct the cost of the work boots as a business expense if you can establish that they were necessary for the job at hand.

You will need to demonstrate your profession—the IRS would not allow a deduction for steel toe boots for a self-employed fisherman or greengrocer since they are not a necessary item for their employment.

Which kind of work boots qualify for a tax deduction?

Tax deductions are subject to the requirement that the costs are incurred in the course of your profession and are essential for the work you perform.

It should be pretty straightforward to establish that practically all types of protective work boots on the market fit both of these criteria, and so qualify for tax deduction.

Tax deductions for work boots are also conditional on the fact that, unlike formal shoes, work boots cannot be worn outside of a work context.

Naturally, you may wear your work boots to work.

However, they are not identical to smart shoes, for example. While smart shoes are required when seeing clients or working in an office, they can also be worn outside of work, for example, during parties or dates.

Thus, unlike work boots, smart shoes are not tax-deductible.

Thus, virtually any type of work boot may be claimed as a business cost as long as it is necessary for the job at hand (i.e., it covers your feet).

Make no attempt to deduct hiking boots as a tax deduction. Hiking boots are not the same as work boots.

The IRS is probably well aware of the construction professional who also likes weekend hiking in the woods and claims both pairs of boots as a business cost.

Of course, there are some gray areas—which is why the IRS continues to deny a large number of garment deductions. Make no claim for a deduction unless it is customary in your field and required for the task you are performing.

How to claim your work boots as a deduction?

As a typical worker, you would deduct the cost of protective clothing from your gross income on Schedule A of IRS Form 1040.

It would be eligible for a deduction only if the entire cost of the protective equipment exceeded 2% of your income.

As a self-employed professional, you would claim protective equipment on Schedule C of the IRS form 1040 as business expenditure. This will be combined with the rest of your business’s costs and income to arrive at a total taxable profit.

By deducting work boots as a business expenditure, you reduce your taxable earnings and hence your tax liability.

Does the IRS Conduct Audits of Self-Employed Individuals?

Yes! And, of course, the most critical thing you can do in the event of an audit is to retain receipts for at least five years in order to provide them upon request.

However, there are certain things you can take to prevent the trouble of preparing your tax return. If you follow these guidelines, an IRS audit of your clothes deductions is quite improbable;

  1. To begin, be explicit about garment costs. What did you purchase, for whom did you purchase it, when did you purchase it, how much did it cost, and why did you purchase it?
  2. The IRS will understand that you are spending your business’s money prudently.
  3. Second, if this type of spending, or any other, fluctuates drastically, explain why. Perhaps you put a few tasks on hold or discovered a new, more affordable supplier?
  4. Thirdly, avoid repeating the same business spending total each year (unless they genuinely are constant). The IRS anticipates that they will evolve over time.

FACT: Only 0.7 percent of tax returns were audited in 2016, thus there is no need for concern.

And, given that they were largely multimillion-dollar enterprises, the likelihood of your business getting audited is substantially lower than even 0.7 percent if it generates five or six figures in yearly revenue.

Conclusion: Can I Deduct Work Boots On My Taxes?

At times, it may appear as though the two most vexing issues confronting construction contractors are the spiraling expense of protective equipment and the IRS’s aggressiveness.

You cannot prevent or even attempt to avoid these issues.

However, there is a technique to make tax deductions less vexing.

By deducting your work boots as a business cost, you can minimize your taxable earnings and consequently the amount of tax you owe. And yes, even if your work boots appear to be business casual, you may still claim (as long as they are being worn for work).

This leaves you with additional funds to spend on your family or to invest in your business.

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