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Category: Finding Deductions

Unreimbursed Employee Expenses - What CANNOT be deducted?

If you paid for expenses related to your job during the tax year, many of these expenses may be eligible to be deducted on your return.

For you to be able to deduct the expense, it must be a common, helpful, and appropriate expense for your field of work. An expense does not necessarily have to be “required” for it to be deductible. However, if your employer reimbursed you for the expense, it cannot be included in your deduction.

Examples of Different Expenses You Cannot Deduct:
  • Commuting Expenses.
  • Broker's commissions that you paid in connection with your IRA or other investment property.
  • Political contributions.
  • Legal expenses for personal matters that do not produce taxable income.
  • Lost or misplaced cash or property.
  • Expenses for meals during regular or extra work hours.
  • Cost of entertaining friends.
  • Commuting expenses. See IRS Pub. 529 for the definition of commuting.
  • Travel expenses for employment away from home if that period of employment exceeds 1 year. See IRS Pub. 529 for an exception for certain federal employees.
  • Travel as a form of education.
  • Expenses of attending a seminar, convention, or similar meeting unless it is related to your employment.
  • Club dues or health spa expenses. See IRS Pub. 529 for exceptions.
  • Expenses of adopting a child. But you may be able to take a credit for adoption expenses. See Form 8839 for details.
  • Fines and penalties.
  • Expenses of producing tax-exempt income.
  • Home repairs, insurance, and rent.
  • Fees and licenses such as car licenses, marriage licenses, and dog tags.
  • Capital expenses.
  • Lobbying expenses.
  • Lunches with co-workers or meals while working late.
  • Travel expenses for another individual.
  • Investment related seminars.
  • Fines and penalties, such as parking tickets.
  • Personal disability insurance premiums.
  • Relief fund contributions.
  • Residential telephone line.
  • Personal, living, or family expenses.
  • Home security system.
  • Check-writing fees.
  • Commuting expenses.

For additional information, please refer to IRS Form 2106. You can also view a list of Unreimbursed Employee Expenses that can be deducted if you click here