Five Work Expenses You Can Expense (and 2 You Can’t)

By Jihan Thompson

May 16, 2008 4:36 AM
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JOB HUNTING

Looking for a new job can become a costly affairyou may end up spending hundreds for a new suit, resume service, and travel costs to get to an interview. Even if you dont land the job, some of those expenses can be deducted, says the IRS. The only catch: you have to be looking in the same career field as your current or recent job (sorry, college grads this doesnt apply to first-timers). Visit the IRS' web page for more info.
work uniform
Rich H Legg
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YOU WEAR A UNIFORM TO WORK

If the dress code at your workplace calls for business casual, you cant get away with writing off the Theory pantsuit you just snapped up from Saks. But, if your office demands that you only wear a specific item thats not suitable to be worn outside of work, then you can comp the costs. If you are required to wear a uniform to workyoure an an airline attendant or Best Buy salespersonthis rule may save you some serious cash.

YOU TAKE TAXIS TO WORK FUNCTIONS

If your boss wants you attend a conference across town, dont swallow the marginal costs youll rack up for the eventlike dry cleaning or a cab rides to and from. Always save the receipts, and even make a note on them as to which event they correspond to.
client dinners
Jill Fromer
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ARE CLIENT DINNERS ON YOU?

Even if your job hasnt bestowed on you a corporate card (the holy grail of business perks) you arent responsible for bills related to wining and dining clients after hours. Submit the bill for reimbursement to the firm or as business expenses at tax timebut not both.
Michael DeLeon
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WORK FROM HOME, SAVE AT HOME

According to the IRS, if you telecommute there could be some savings in it for you. In order to claim expenses for your home office, the space must be used regularly and exclusively as the principal location of your job, or where you meet with clients. Writing up patient charts in bed doesnt count.
Anja Peternelj
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DONT EXPENSE YOUR STANDARD COMMUTING COSTS

Dont even try it. You arent the CEO (yet), so you cant order up your own car service and expect the company to foot the bill. How you get to work is 100% your responsibility. Ask your HR manager about company benefits which may subsidize your commuting costs. Many offer employees ways to save on mass transit or parking passes.

DONT EXPENSE DINNER WITH FRIENDS

Sure, it was okay to send in the receipt when it’s strictly business. But posting the tab to your boss when it’s a girls’ night out is never okay. In fact, it’s a friable offense. Trust us—explaining a $300 bar tab for two isn’t a position you want to be in.
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