What Can I Claim on My Taxes as an Electrical Lineman?

An electrical lineman spends years undergoing intensive training before he can work independently on high-voltage electrical power lines. Even with all that training, the job is still more dangerous than many others. As a result of your chosen profession, you can qualify to claim many tax deductions that relate to your job.

Electrical Safety Training

Since you spend a good portion of your work day climbing electrical polls to repair and replace electrical wiring, safety is of the utmost importance. To remain free of injuries, your employer or the government may require you to attend classes on a regular basis to keep you up to date on safety procedures or to learn technological developments in the electrical wiring industry. If you pay for these courses with personal funds and don’t receive reimbursement from your employer, you can claim a deduction for the entire cost. However, this deduction for work-related education is only available to taxpayers who already work in the lineman industry; if you take a training course to obtain the minimum skills necessary to enter the profession, the deduction isn’t available.

Lineman Work Tools

Depending on who your employer is, you may find yourself purchasing some of the work tools you need with your personal funds. There are two categories of work tools that will affect how much of the cost you can deduct. For the tools you purchase that have limited use beyond one year, the IRS allows you to claim the full purchase price in your deduction. However, if the tools are of the type you anticipate using beyond one year, you can only claim partial deductions each year for the cost known as depreciation. For this type of tool, the IRS assigns different depreciation periods over which you must spread the deduction depending on the type of tool or equipment it is.

Protective Clothing

Due to the hazardous nature of your job, you may need to purchase protective clothing and gear. This can include footwear appropriate for climbing, fire-retardant clothing and even gear to protect you from severe weather. Since the IRS treats these purchases as job-related, you can claim a deduction for the full purchase price. However, if you receive any type of reimbursement or allowance from your employer for these items, you aren’t eligible for the deduction.

Itemizing With 1040

When you add up all of the potentially deductible expenses you incur, you may be saving a good amount of money on your income taxes. However, one final requirement for claiming them is that you report the expenses as itemized deductions on Schedule A. You should therefore evaluate whether you will save more in tax by itemizing or by taking the standard deduction for your filing status. If you do decide to itemize, the IRS further requires that you only use the long-form 1040 to file your taxes.