Accounting: Making Sure 2 + 2 = 4

Accounting: Making Sure 2 + 2 = 4

Why the Tax Rules About Clothing Are Far from Clear-Cut

Dwayne Barnes

If you are subject to a high-income tax bracket, then you will want to try and reduce your exposure as much as possible. You know that you may be entitled to a variety of different deductions against your tax bill, but you need to be careful as some of these rules can be quite difficult to navigate. In particular, you need to understand the rules related to clothing and whether or not each is an allowable expense. How should you proceed?

Specified Clothing

In general, you are allowed to claim the cost of clothing or uniform so long as the company you work for insists it is worn. However, it is much more complex than that, and the clothing or uniform in question has to be distinctive or specific to the organisation itself.

Not So Simple

In this situation, you would not be allowed to claim the cost of a three-piece suit, even if the organisation insisted that it was the only acceptable standard of dress. This means that you have to tread carefully as it is far from unusual, and many organisations have this type of policy for those who work in very high profile positions.


If, however, the suit jacket had to bear the employer's logo, then you might be able to claim the cost of purchase. You would need to check this carefully with your tax adviser to be sure before you itemised the deduction on your return.

Occupation Specific Clothing

Some areas are easier to understand. If your clothing is very specific to your occupation (and would be inappropriate in any other situation), then you could definitely claim its cost. An example here might be a priest's cassock or a nurse's uniform, either of which you would only find within a specific work environment.

Protective Clothing

Likewise, protective clothing that is meant to safeguard the individual from harm and, once again, only found in a specific environment is allowed. You can, therefore, deduct the cost when you buy hard hats or safety glasses to be used in your daily job.

Speciality Cleaning

Also, if you are allowed to purchase these items, you are usually allowed to claim the cost of related laundry and dry cleaning. You may be able to estimate laundry expenses and include a lump sum on your return or itemise the deductions if the costs are higher.

Don't Assume

Never assume anything when you're talking about tax deductions. The laws can be complicated, and you need to be sure, or you may set yourself up for penalties and interest. Talk with a taxation service first to be on the safe side.


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Accounting: Making Sure 2 + 2 = 4

Hello. When you are at school, maths can seem so complicated at first. But then you learn about numbers and all of sudden everything seems as easy as 2 + 2 = 4. I used to be pretty good at maths so when I started my own business, I didn't think I needed to hire an accountant. After all, why should I pay someone else to do something that I could do myself? However, I very quickly learnt two important lessons. Lesson one was that accounting and doing the books will take a lot longer than you might think and, secondly, it is actually pretty complex stuff. In the end, I decided to hire a professional accountant. He is great and he has taught me a lot of cool stuff.