More Questions about Deductible Expenses

After writing Can I Deduct My Uniform Costs on My Income Tax Return?, I’ve gotten more questions and comments about other items that may or may not be deducted from your income taxes.  I’m not a tax professional and this is not professional advice, but here is what I have learned over the years:

Cell Phones: No.  You are presumed to have a form of communication regardless of whether you are in the military.  If your military job requires that you have a cell phone, they will issue you one.

Computers: No.  It is assumed that a military member has access to computers for the requirements of their job.

Gas/Tolls/Other Transportation:  Generally no.  There are some provisions for the official use of a personal vehicle, but they are very limited, require careful bookkeeping, and are subject to the 2% of your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) limitation.  Reservists, however, are permitted to deduct travel expenses to and from their reserve obligations.

Haircuts: No.

Moving Expenses: Some moving expenses are deductible.  The IRS has a great publication with the details about this topic.  Be sure that you only deduct expenses that exceed any reimbursement you receive from the government.

Don’t forget to check with your installation’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) office for more information on specific situations.

I will continue to update this list as I receive more questions and comments.

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • Ryan

    “If your military job requires that you have a cell phone, they will issue you one.”

    In response to this statement, I have to say that is completely untrue. My previous military assignment did require that I get a cell phone, and they did not issue it or pay for it.