Dimond Tax Services - FIREFIGHTERS
An Oakland Calfornia based Tax Return Preparation Firm - Company Message

In order to deduct expenses in your trade or business, you must
show that the expenses are “ordinary and necessary.” An ordinary
expense is one that is customary in your particular line of
work. A necessary expense is one that is appropriate but not
necessarily essential in your business. The application of these
terms to you relies heavily on the “facts and circumstances” of
your unique situation.


Dues paid to professional societies related to your occupation as a
firefighter are deductible. However, the costs of initial admission fees
paid for membership in certain organizations or social clubs are
considered capital expenses.

Deductions are allowed for payments made to a union as a condition
of initial or continued membership. Such payments include regular
dues, but not those that go toward defraying expenses of a personal
nature. However, the portion of union dues that goes into a strike fund
is deductible.

Association Dues
House Dues (Sibla 1980, CA9) 611 F2d 1260, 80-1 USTC
Union Dues


Generally, the costs of your firefighter uniforms are fully deductible.
IRS rules specify that work clothing costs and the cost of maintenance
are deductible if: (1) the uniforms are required by your employer
(if you’re an employee); and (2) the clothes are not adaptable to
ordinary street wear. Normally, the employer’s emblem attached to
the clothing indicates it is not for street wear. The cost of protective
clothing (e.g. safety shoes or goggles) is also deductible.


The basic local telephone service costs of the first telephone line in your
residence are not deductible. However, toll calls from that line are
deductible if the calls are business-related. The costs (basic fee and toll
calls) of a second line in your home are also deductible if the line is used
exclusively for business.


Educational expenses are deductible under either of two conditions:

(1) your employer requires the education in order for you to keep your job
or rate of pay; or (2) the education maintains or improves skills as
a firefighter. Costs of courses that are taken to meet the minimum
requirements of a job, or that qualify you for a new trade or business,
are NOT deductible.

Correspondence Course Fees
Materials & Supplies
Seminar Fees
Training Sessions

House dues and meal expenses may be deductible. Firefighters are often
required to eat their meals at the station house. One court case (Sibla)
said that the costs of such meals are nondeductible unless the
firefighters: (1) are required to make payments to a common mess fund
as a condition of employment, and (2) must pay whether or not they are
at the station house to eat the meals. Contact this office for further
details on this deduction.

Expenses of looking for new employment in your present line of work are
deductible – you do not have to actually obtain a new job in order to
deduct the expenses. Out-of-town job-seeking expenses are deductible
only if the primary purpose of the trip is job seeking, not pursuing
personal activities.


Generally, to be deductible, items must be ordinary and necessary to your
job as a firefighter and not reimbursable by your employer. Record
separately from other supplies the costs of business assets that are
expected to last longer than one year and cost more than $100. Normally,
the costs of such assets are recovered differently on your tax return than
are other recurring, everyday business expenses such as flashlights,
batteries and other supplies.

Answering Machine
ID Case
Key Strap
Map Book
Repairs - Equipment
Safety Equipment
Safety Glasses
Tapes - Recording


Your auto expenses are based on the number of qualified business
miles you drive. Expenses for travel between business locations or daily
transportation expenses between your residence and temporary work
locations are deductible; include them as business miles. Expenses for
your trips between home and work each day, or between home and
one or more regular places of work, are COMMUTING expenses and are
NOT deductible.

Document business miles in a record book as follows: (1) give the date
and business purpose of each trip; (2) note the place to which you
traveled; (3) record the number of business miles; and (4) record your car’s
odometer reading at both the beginning and end of the tax year. Keep
receipts for all car operating expenses – gas, oil, repairs, insurance etc.
and of any reimbursement you received for your expenses.


Expenses accrued when traveling away from “home” overnight on
job-related and continuing education trips are deductible. Your “home” is
generally considered to be the entire city or general area where your
principal place of employment is located. Out-of-town expenses include
transportation, meals, lodging, tips and miscellaneous items like laundry,
valet etc.

Document away-from-home expenses by noting the date, destination
and business purpose of your trip. Record business miles if you drove to
the out-of-town location. In addition, keep a detailed record of your
expenses – lodging, public transportation, meals, etc. Always list meals
and lodging separately in your records. Receipts must be retained for
each lodging expense. However, if any other business expense is less
than $75, a receipt is not necessary if you record all of the information in
a timely diary. You must keep track of the full amount of meal and
entertainment expenses even though only a portion of the amount may
be deductible.

Bridge & Highway Tolls
Bus & Subway
Car Rental
Lodging (do not combine with meals)
Meals (do not combine with lodging)
Porter, Bell Captain
Telephone Calls (including home)


Errors and Omissions Insurance
Job Seeking
Legal (Protection and production of taxable income)
Liability Insurance
Professional Subscriptions
Cellular Calls
Paging Service
Pay Phone
Toll Calls

UNIFORMS & Upkeep:


The information provided in this brochure is an abbreviated summary of the rules for the job-related expenses applicable to firefighters.
For additional details as to specific business expenses, the records required and the various governmental regulations, consult the firm providing this brochure.

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