Work Expenses as Tax Deductions

You can deduct certain expenses as miscellaneous, itemized tax deductions subject to the 2% of adjusted gross income limit. These expenses must fulfill one of these purposes: 

  • To produce or collect income that must be included in your gross income,
  • To manage, conserve, or maintain property held for producing such income, or
  • To determine, contest, pay, or claim a refund of any tax.

The following expenses can be deducted for the purposes above only if they are reasonably and closely related to these purposes: 

Appraisal Fees for a Casualty Loss or Charitable Contribution

Appraisal fees can be deducted if you pay them for a casualty loss or the fair market value of donated property.

Casualty and Theft Losses From Property

A casualty is the complete or partial destruction of property resulting from an identifiable event of a sudden, unexpected, or unusual nature. It must be due to external cause, rather than to a defect in the product itself.  A theft is the unlawful taking of property.  A casualty or theft loss, as a miscellaneous itemized deduction, can be deducted, but is subject to the 2% limit if the damaged or stolen property was used for performing services as an employee. Please note that due to tax reform beginning with 2018 returns, casualty and theft losses can only be claimed if they are from a federally declared disaster area.

Clerical Help and Office Rent in Caring for Investments

If you have office expenses, such as rent and clerical help, in connection with your investments and collect the taxable income on them, they may be deducted.

Legal Fees Paid to Produce or Collect Taxable Income/Get Tax Advice

Due to tax reform and beginning with 2018 returns, legal fees are no longer deductible. The following is for 2017 and earlier returns.

You can generally deduct legal expenses that are paid to produce or collect taxable income or that you pay in relation to the collection or refund of any tax. These legal expenses can also be deducted:

  • Related to either doing or keeping your job, such as those you paid to defend yourself against criminal charges against your trade or business,
  • For tax advice related to a divorce if the bill specifies how much is for tax advice and it is determined in a reasonable way, or
  • For the collection of taxable alimony.

You can deduct expenses of resolving tax issues relating to profit or loss from business, rentals or royalties, or farm income and expenses on the appropriate schedule.  

Repayments of Income

If you had to repay an amount that you included in your income from an earlier year, you may be able to deduct what you repaid. If you had to repay ordinary income of $3,000 or less, the deduction is subject to the 2% limit.



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