When the business attire in the office gets expensive

Almost anyone who has a job in the office or is in customer contact knows the problem:

Good business clothes must come! Even though more and more CEOs like to wear shirt-sleeved T-shirts, jeans or turtlenecks: in many industries and companies, the suit and tie for the gentleman and the costume for the lady are still required. Together with good and suitable footwear, bigger expenses come together quickly.

What could be more obvious than to deduct the expenses of the tax as income-related expenses? Especially since the business clothes can not be worn in their free time. Unfortunately, everyone who tries to file a tax return has an unpleasant surprise: the cost of business attire can not usually be deducted.

The courts have repeatedly decided – most recently, for example, the Munich Financial Court (judgment of 10.7.2014, Az. 15 K 1016/12). The case involved a tax clerk who wanted to charge for the purchase and cleaning of two suits, which he only put on work. This was rejected by the tax office and the court. Reason: Only the costs for typical work clothes are deductible. And clothing falls under it only if it fulfills a distinguishing and protective function. Typical examples:

  • Protective function: Blaumann or the steel cap shoes for the craftsman.
  • Distinguishing function: official costumes such as the judge’s robe, uniforms etc.

But a suit or costume has neither a protective nor a distinguishing function. Both can also be worn privately in everyday life. Therefore, a tax deduction is out of the question, even if the fine thread is certainly not worn privately.

Take advantage of other possibilities!

What is difficult with business attire is possible with many other expenses related to work: Often, as an employee, you can deduct more than you think about the cost of doing business. Here are some examples that are overlooked again and again:

  • Private telephone bill: If you also communicate professionally via your private connection or your mobile phone, you can claim a proportionate cost. You do not have to record every single conversation – you can deduct a flat rate up to 20% of the bill (maximum of 20 € per month). It is best to have the employer confirm that home-based professional communication is necessary.
  • Work equipment at home: If you have set up a working corner at home to make one or the other overtime for your employer in the evening or at the weekend, you can claim the cost of the work equipment that you need there at your advertising costs , Think for example of the proportionate costs for the PC, receipts for reference books, stationery and paper, subscription bills, journals, online courses, etc., which you have paid out of pocket.
  • Travel to job interviews (if travel costs have not been reimbursed).