Taxpayer asks:

Can I deduct my son’s school uniforms on our taxes? They are required.


Taxgirl says:

Unfortunately, no. Trust me, I wish it were different (my older daughter’s school requires uniforms, too). The IRS does not allow deductions for school uniforms, even if required, for public or private schools.

All is not lost, though. There is a possibility to save a little tax on uniforms if you invest in an Educational Savings Account. Unlike an IRA, an ESA contribution is not deductible for federal purposes (though some states will allow you to deduct contributions for state purposes). Money in those accounts grows tax-deferred – and the withdrawals are tax free so long as the money is used for “qualified education expenses”, including uniforms. You can contribute up to $2,000 per year to an ESA per beneficiary so long as you qualify (there are AGI restrictions). And if you don’t have the cash to put in the ESA, don’t worry – other family members can contribute, too.

I’ll be doing a follow up on 529 plans and ESAs shortly. In the meantime, be sure and check this post for some child-related expenses that are deductible.

Before you go: be sure to read my disclaimer. Remember, I’m a lawyer and we love disclaimers.
If you have a question, here’s how to Ask The Taxgirl.

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Kelly Phillips Erb is a tax attorney, tax writer, and podcaster.


  1. Hi, Taxgirl.

    For consideration on your upcoming back-to-school blog special: My wife and I homeschool our 4 children in Nashville. This is a great educational option for our children, but means that we pay for EVERYTHING. Do you know of any tax-saving tips for families like us?

    Nashville, TN

  2. So love your site….Can you tell me a percentage to put back of my spousal support for taxes. I do not work and do depend on the money but I will need to take taxes out of it at the end of each year. I have only been divorced 5 months and dont want a surprise come tax time.

    Thank you,

  3. Dear Taxgirl, in January 2011 my contract at work was nearing expiration. I heard there were many jobs out in Utah in my field; after some research and posting my resume on the internet. In february 2011, I flew out to Utah to check out the hospitals, and met with HR reps in each of them, investigated the area, and how far from these jobs was suitable living for my family. After returning, in one month I had been accepted for a job and one month later I moved my family out to Utah, and started working for a hospital (in the same field of work).
    Are my flight, hotel and gas expenses from my flight in Feb able to be deducted as job-search expenses? Also I know IRS allows for moving expenses but if you take one of these can you not take the other as well? plz let me know…thank you.

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