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Can I Deduct My W-2 Job Expenses?

Posted by on March 28, 2019
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w-2 job expenses

The new tax season brought in a lot of changes, and your job expenses are one of them.

If you’ve noticed on your tax returns that you can’t deduct your W-2 job expenses for 2018, you’re partially correct. Unfortunately, not everyone can claim their out-of-pocket job expenses.

Here’s the breakdown.


The new tax laws have narrowed down on who claims their W-2 job expenses, mainly by their occupation.

You can only deduct your job expenses if you’re one of the following:

  • Armed Forces reservist
  • Qualified performing artist
  • Fee-basis state or local government official
  • Employees with impairment-related work expenses

However, your W-2 job expenses must occur during your tax year, directly correlate to your trade or business of being an employee and be ordinary or necessary in order to function for your occupation. In order to claim these expenses, you will need to complete Form 2106 for your deduction (which is provided to you using our site).

On the other hand, the new tax laws do not affect Schedule C filers, since they can deduct all of their usual expenses.

How the IRS recognizes each occupation

Armed Forces Reservist

As an Armed Forces reservist, you’re a part of the reserves belonging to either the Army, Army National Guard of the United States, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard Reserve, or the Public Health Service. If you travel more than 100 miles from home due to your reserve services, you can deduct your travel expenses as well. This includes lodging, meals, incidental expenses, and car expenses such as parking fees, ferry fees, and tolls.

Qualified Performing Artist

In order to be recognized as a qualified performing artist by the IRS, you must have:

  • Performed as a performing artist employee for at least two employers during the tax year
  • Received wages of $200 or more per employer from at least two employers
  • Had allowable business expenses directly related to the performing arts of more than 10% of gross income
  • Had adjusted gross income of $16,000 or less before deducting expenses as a performing artist

Fee-basis state or local government official

If you’re employed by a state or political subdivision of a state and work on a fee-basis, you’re a fee-basis official.

An employee with impairment-related work expenses

If you have a physical or mental disability that requires you to have attendant care in order to carry out your work duties, you qualify. This also includes any other expenses that enable the employee to work.

What can you deduct?

As a reminder, you can deduct any ordinary or necessary expense required for your field of trade, business, or profession. If you’re eligible to deduct your W-2 job expenses, here’s what you can write off.

  • Travel costs
  • Lodging expenses
  • Meals and entertainment
  • Uniform or special clothing
  • Professional dues or subscriptions
  • Work-related educational expenses
  • Depreciation of vehicles or work-related assets
  • Other expenses required for your field of work or occupation

For more information from the IRS, click here.

The bottom line is, taxpayers most likely won’t be itemizing.

Due to the new, larger standard deduction, taxpayers may not be able to itemize. Those who are homeowners may possibly be able to if they are claiming the SALT deduction and other expenses.

Although, for single filers, you will need to claim expenses exceeding $12,000. For joint filers, you will need to go over $24,000. On top of that, the head of household filers will need to exceed $18,000.

Don’t wait until April 15, file now.

For those of you who know you’re getting a refund back this tax season, get your refund! In contrast, file now to avoid late filing and paying penalties if you have a tax due to the IRS.

Above all, if you need extra time to file your taxes, file an extension for free through our site! Make sure that you estimate the taxes you owe to the IRS and pay it online after filing your extension.



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One Response to “Can I Deduct My W-2 Job Expenses?”

  1. Anna Nordin says:

    I am an employed physician with W2, but I pay a lot for medical related equipment I need to do my job. Can I, or can I not deduction these expenses? Thank you.

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