Perhaps you’ve had some time to watch a sitcom called “black-ish”. The program follows an African-American family living in the suburbs with a loudmouth father, Dre, who struggles to maintain his Compton roots while continuing to succeed in a white man’s world.
Among the many colorful characters found in the show, Dre’s father, Pops, is never short on sage-like wisdom and asinine ideas. Pops is not very comfortable with taxes, and consequently enlists the help of a finance expert called “James Brown” played by John Witherspoon. The character is eccentric, to say the least, and seems the fool.
In one episode with James Brown, the aforementioned financial guru is giving Pops some advice on tax write-offs. The advice? Sew your pockets together to make it a costume, do some standup and write off the expense of the clothing. When you see it, you can’t help but laugh at the absurdity.
What’s funny is that there is a nugget of truth in James Brown’s advice. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), there are articles of clothing that can be written off on your taxes if they are required for work.
Obviously, there are caveats to this. The deduction can only be applied to clothing that is not just required for work, but can’t be used outside of the workplace. The following quote from TurboTax sheds some light on this, stating, “The IRS has accepted deductions for theatrical costumes, hard hats, and other safety gear.”
Unfortunately, a three-piece suit does not qualify since that can be comfortably worn outside of your job to multiple functions – even with pockets sewn. But, for those who do require job-specific clothing, such items could be deductible. Consult your accountant or tax preparer to be sure.