Employee Business Deductions


As an employee, you can deduct quite a few business expenses to the extent you weren’t reimbursed by your employer. Check the following list of potential employee business deductions. If you’ve incurred any of these expenses, make sure you keep adequate records to support their expense deduction.

  • Books for your trade or profession
  • Business liability insurance premiums
  • Damages you pay to a former employer for a breach of employment contract
  • Depreciation on job-related equipment that you purchased (see IRS Publication 946)
  • Dry cleaning costs for your uniforms or protective clothing (not for your everyday clothing)
  • Dues to a professional organization (if the organization represents people in your profession)
  • Dues to chambers of commerce and similar organizations (if membership helps you carry out your job duties)
  • Educational expenses related to your present job
  • Entertaining costs (only 50% of the cost is deductible)
  • Expenses for an office in your home (if used regularly and exclusively for your work – see IRS Publication 587)
  • Gifts, but only up to $25 per recipient
  • Job dismissal insurance premiums
  • Job hunting expenses (see details below)
  • Licenses paid to state or local governments
  • Meals (only 50% of the cost is deductible)
  • Medical exams required by your employer
  • Occupational taxes and regulatory fees for your profession
  • Protective clothing and gear
  • Research expenses incurred by a college professor
  • 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 publications for your trade or profession
  • Supplies you use in your job
  • Tools you use in your job
  • Transportation between your home and a temporary work location
  • 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 work assignment
  • Uniforms (except if you are on full-time active duty in the armed forces)
  • Union dues, initiation fees and certain assessments


You can deduct expenditures you make while looking for a new job as long as you’re looking for a job in your present line of work (that is, you’re not changing professions). Examples of expenses incurred while searching for a new job are:

  • Advertising
  • Career counseling to assist in improving your position
  • Employment agency fees
  • Executive recruiter fees
  • Meal expenses (50% of meal costs incurred and directly related to your job search)
  • Legal and accounting fees (in connection with employment contract negotiations and preparation)
  • Long distance calls (to prospective employers)
  • Newspapers and business publications (to read employment ads)
  • Portfolio preparation costs
  • Resume preparation
  • Travel and transportation costs (traveling to job interviews)
    CASH CONTRIBUTIONS All cash contributions made in tax years beginning after August 17, 2006, to any qualified charity must be supported by a dated bank record or a dated receipt. The tax year for most individual taxpayers begins on January1.


    Beginning with contributions made after August 17, 2006, no deduction is allowed for most contributions of clothing and household items unless the donated property is in good used condition or better.


    The following itemized deductions are deductible to the extent they exceed, in the aggregate, 2% of the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income:

  • Un-reimbursed business expenses
  • Union and professional dues
  • Tax preparation fees
  • Professional subscriptions
  • Hobby expenses
  • Safe deposit box
  • Uniforms
  • Work tools
  • Gambling losses
  • Estate taxes
  • Investment expenses