If you are employed as a nurse or work as an independent contractor in nursing positions, you are likely required to wear a uniform or scrubs that meet your employer's or client's specifications for the job. You can deduct your nursing uniform expense on your federal tax filing, but the method of deduction depends on your employment status and is subject to certain limitations.
Deductible Uniform Expense
Your uniforms are deductible as long as they are required for the job by your employer or client, and the clothing is not suitable for personal wear. For example, if your employer or client requires you to wear jeans and a collared shirt, the cost is not deductible because the clothes are suitable for other personal wear. Scrubs or other medical uniforms are not considered normal personal wear and are deductible expenses. Keep your receipts for the uniform expense to support any deduction claimed on your federal tax filing.
Independent Contract Expense
If you work as an independent contractor in nursing positions, you deduct the cost of nursing uniforms on Schedule C, along with your other self-employment expenses. Schedule C does not provide a specific line item for uniform expenses, so list the expense in the Other Expenses section on the second page of Schedule C.
Employee Uniform Expense
If you are employed by a medical facility, you can deduct expenses required by your employer on Schedule A, along with your other itemized deductions. If your employer reimburses you for any part of your uniform cost, you must deduct the reimbursed amounts received from the total uniform cost to determine the amount of your deduction. You record uniform expenses in the Job Expense and Certain Miscellaneous Deductions section of Schedule A on the Unreimbursed Employee Expenses line.
Limitations on Schedule A Deductions
If your total itemized deductions claimed on Schedule A are not greater than the standard deduction for that tax filing year, take the standard deduction to provide the most tax benefit. In that case, you won't get to deduct your uniform costs on your federal tax filing.