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  • Tax Question

    Several years ago I saw an article that was published in either Fire Chief - or Fore Engineering magazine, and it listed all of the various things that a firefighter could deduct from his/her state and federal income tax.

    Does anyone know some hard and fast information on this?

    I know that professional memberships, subscriptions to trade journals (READ: magazines) are allowable....

    Does anyone know for sure...

    Looking for more info.

    "In Omnia Paratus"

    Member - IACOJ
    "Got Crust?"

    -- The opinions presented here are my own; and are not those of any organization that I belong to, or work for.

  • #2
    Depends on your status whether it's deductable or not. If your a paid department there are many deductions you can take. A couple would be uniform cleaning and maintenance, portion of telephone bill, food fund, trade journals ect. This depends on what your dept. pays you for any of these things.


    • #3
      Even if you are a call firefighter, as far as I know, anything that is JOB SPECIFIC can be deducted. This includes tools, equipment, uniform items THAT CAN"T BE worn as regular clothing - i.e. T-Shirts with a department name on them, cost of continuing education, mileage to continuing education, job seeking expenses - postage, resume fees, etc..., union dues, membership dues, personal vehicle lighting I believe also can be added to the list. College courses for fire science or EMT / Paramedic training is also tax related. mileage is also able to be deducted but a log must be kept.

      Be vary careful here. You need to have receipts for EVERYTHING you list on your taxes. Otherwise if the IRS would like to come after you for an audit adn you can't verify it, you will have to cough up the cash to repay them.

      Keep receipts for 7 years too. The IRS puts out informational packets regarding what can and can't be used as tax decductable. It will also be worth it to go see a tax attorney to get teh skinny on what is legal and waht is not.
      "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

      The borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7 - Debt free since 10/5/2009.

      "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." - New York Judge Gideon Tucker

      "As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government." - Dave Barry

      www.daveramsey.com www.clarkhoward.com www.heritage.org


      • #4
        everything on Dasharkies list, and also...

        Uniform maintenance and cleaning. (includes the cost of detergents, dry cleaning, etc).

        PPE above and beyond what the Department issues.

        Personal supplies for your use at the firehouse (razors, shave cream, toothpaste, soaps, deodorant to cover up the smell of "eau de Conflagration", etc)

        Mileage to and from alarms, callbacks, etc.

        Physical fitness clothing..you have to be fit to be on the job!

        Conferences, seminars, continuing educatio classes are dedcutible, along with mileafge and airfare, hotels, etc.

        Internet access for training, information and being on the forums!

        Keep your reciepts.. I put mine in a folder and have a vehicle log in my truck.
        Last edited by DeputyChiefGonzo; 10-14-2003, 12:05 PM.
        ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
        Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY


        • #5
          IRS Publication No. 516: Other Employee Business Expenses

          You may be able to deduct other unreimbursed expenses that are connected with your employment.

          Membership dues. Membership dues you pay to professional societies that relate to your business or profession are deductible.

          Subscriptions. Subscriptions to professional publications that relate to your business or profession are deductible.

          Educational expenses. Generally, educational expenses are considered to be personal expenses and are not deductible. However, under some circumstances, educational expenses are deductible as business expenses.

          You can deduct educational expenses as business expenses if the education:

          1) Maintains or improves skills needed in your present position, or

          2) Meets the express requirements of your agency to keep your present position, salary, or status.

          You cannot deduct educational expenses as business expenses if the education:

          1) Is needed to enable you to meet minimum educational requirements for qualification in your present position,

          2) Is a part of a program of study that can qualify you for a new position, or

          3) Is for travel as a form of education.

          These rules apply even if the education is required by your agency or it maintains or improves skills required in your work.

          Stay Safe


          • #6
            Publication No. 17: Work Clothes and Uniforms

            You can deduct the cost and upkeep of work clothes if the following two requirements are met.

            1) You must wear them as a condition of your employment.

            2) The clothes are not suitable for everyday wear.


            It is not enough that you wear distinctive clothing. The clothing must be specifically required by your employer. Nor is it enough that you do not, in fact, wear your work clothes away from work. The clothing must not be suitable for taking the place of your regular clothing.

            Examples of workers who may be able to deduct the cost and upkeep of work clothes are: delivery workers, firefighters, health care workers, law enforcement officers, letter carriers, professional athletes, and transportation workers (air, rail, bus, etc.).

            Musicians and entertainers can deduct the cost of theatrical clothing and accessories if they are not suitable for everyday wear.

            However, work clothing consisting of white cap, white shirt or white jacket, white bib overalls, and standard work shoes, which a painter is required by his union to wear on the job, is not distinctive in character or in the nature of a uniform. Similarly, the costs of buying and maintaining blue work clothes worn by a welder at the request of a foreman are not deductible.

            Protective clothing. You can deduct the cost of protective clothing required in your work, such as safety shoes or boots, safety glasses, hard hats, and work gloves.

            Examples of workers who may be required to wear safety items are: carpenters, cement workers, chemical workers, electricians, fishing boat crew members, machinists, oil field workers, pipe fitters, steamfitters, and truck drivers.

            Stay Safe


            • #7
              ... and for the volunteers out there ...

              Publication No. 526: Out-of-Pocket Expenses in Giving Services

              You may be able to deduct some amounts you pay in giving services to a qualified organization. The amounts must be:
              l Unreimbursed,
              l Directly connected with the services,
              l Expenses you had only because of the services you gave, and
              l Not personal, living, or family expenses.

              Table 2 contains questions and answers that apply to some individuals who volunteer their services.

              Table 2. Volunteers' Questions and Answers
              If you do volunteer work for a qualified organization, the following questions and answers may apply to you. All of the rules explained in
              this publication also apply. See, in particular, Out-of-Pocket Expenses in Giving Services.

              I do volunteer work 6 hours a week in the office of a qualified organization. The receptionist is paid $6 an hour to do the same work I do. Can I deduct $36 a week for my time?

              No, you cannot deduct the value of your time or services.

              The office is 30 miles from my home. Can I deduct any of my car expenses for these trips?

              Yes, you can deduct the costs of gas and oil that are directly related to getting to and from the place where you are a volunteer. If you do not want to figure your actual costs, you can use the standard mileage rate. See the instructions for Schedule A (Form 1040) for this rate.

              I volunteer as a Red Cross nurse's aide at a hospital. Can I deduct the cost of uniforms that I must wear?

              Yes, you can deduct the cost of buying and cleaning your uniforms if the hospital is a qualified organization, the uniforms are not suitable for everyday use, and you must wear them when volunteering.

              Conventions. If you are a chosen representative attending a convention of a qualified organization, you can deduct unreimbursed expenses for travel and transportation, including a reasonable amount for meals and lodging, while away from home overnight in connection with the convention. However, see Travel , later.
              You cannot deduct personal expenses for sightseeing, fishing parties, theater tickets, or nightclubs. You also cannot deduct travel, meals and lodging, and other expenses for your spouse or children.
              You cannot deduct your expenses in attending a church convention if you go only as a member of your church rather than as a chosen representative. You can deduct unreimbursed expenses that are directly connected with giving services for your church during the convention.

              Uniforms. You can deduct the cost and upkeep of uniforms that are not suitable for everyday use and that you must wear while performing donated services for a charitable organization.

              Car expenses. You can deduct unreimbursed out-of-pocket expenses, such as the cost of gas and oil, that are directly related to the use of your car in giving services to a charitable organization. You cannot deduct general repair and maintenance expenses, depreciation, registration fees, or the costs of tires or insurance.
              If you do not want to deduct your actual expenses, you can use a standard mileage rate to figure your contribution. See the instructions for Schedule A (Form 1040) to find the rate for the year you claim the deduction.
              You can deduct parking fees and tolls, whether you use your actual expenses or the standard mileage rate.
              You must keep reliable written records of your car expenses. For more information, see Car expenses under Records To Keep, later.

              Travel. Generally, you can claim a charitable contribution deduction for travel expenses necessarily incurred while you are away from home performing services for a charitable organization only if there is no significant element of personal pleasure, recreation, or vacation in the travel (there goes the Cancun water rescue training). This applies whether you pay the expenses directly or indirectly. You are paying the expenses indirectly if you make a payment to the charitable organization and the organization pays for your travel expenses.
              The deduction for travel expenses will not be denied simply because you enjoy providing services to the charitable organization. Even if you enjoy the trip, you can take a charitable contribution deduction for your travel expenses if you are on duty in a genuine and substantial sense throughout the trip. However, if you have only nominal duties, or if for significant parts of the trip you do not have any duties, you cannot deduct your travel expenses.

              Daily allowance (per diem). If you provide services for a charitable organization and receive a daily allowance to cover reasonable travel expenses, including meals and lodging while away from home overnight, you must include in income the amount of the allowance that is more than your deductible travel expenses. You can deduct your necessary travel expenses that are more than the allowance.

              Deductible travel expenses. These include:
              l Air, rail, and bus transportation,
              l Out-of-pocket expenses for your car,
              l Taxi fares or other costs of transportation between the airport or station and your hotel,
              l Lodging costs, and
              l The cost of meals.
              Because these travel expenses are not business-related, they are not subject to the same limits as business related expenses. For information on business travel expenses, see Travel Expenses in Publication 463, Travel, Entertainment, Gift, and Car Expenses .

              Stay Safe


              • #8
                And in Maryland............

                There are tax benefits at the state and local level as well, ie: Qualified Volunteers get a $3,000.00 deduction on their State income tax. Several counties give a discount on property taxes, as do some towns. We also get $0.30/mile deduction for any travel for the organization. And the list goes on.... Stay Safe....
                Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
                In memory of
                Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
                Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

                IACOJ Budget Analyst

                I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.



                • #9
                  WOOHOO!!! I'm outta the hot seat!

                  Since I do currently still live at home while I am attending college, my parents were not at all thrilled with the idea of me putting so many miles on my truck going to and coming from calls, trainings, Con-Ed, etc. Now that I know this, I have a pretty good hunch that I will be outta the hot seat! THANKS A MILLION GUYS!

                  This also helps me with my uniform expenses, gear expenses, etc.

                  I just finished taking EMT-B in May and got my license just recently. That helps me out alot too... I have probably put 10,000 miles total on my old truck and the new one I just bought in September!

                  WOOOHOO!!! I'm in the money! I'm in the money!

                  Has anyone ever told you that you guys are the greatest!?!

                  All things I say...while not always making sense are ALWAYS my opinion and only mine. They do not reflect the opinions of any department of which I am a member.


                  • #10
                    LRFireE135 and anyone else interested- Just a thought for you before you get too excited. If you are going to deduct these expenses (mileage, clothes, etc), you need to choose to itemize your deductions rather than take the standard deduction. For 2003 the standard amount for a single filer is $4,750. That means that if the total expenses you plan (and are allowed) to deduct (unreimbured medical, interest on mortgages, the employment/volunteer related expenses mentioned in this thread, etc..) are more than $4,750 you should itemize your expenses. However, if the amount is under $4750 you get more of a benefit from taking the standard deduction.

                    LRFireE135 since you are a college student (like I am), you likely don't have many deducible expenses. Therefore, unfortunatly, their is a good chance that you will not be able to deduct those miles on your truck.

                    The standardized deduction vs. itemized deduction applies to all taxpayers out there, but those who have mortgages, high medical expenses, and other deductible expenses will likely itemize and therefore it is worth include the allowable firefighting expenses.
                    FYI I believe that the 2003 IRS deduction is only about $0.14 per mile, although if you have alot it adds up.

                    Stay Safe

                    "Man is the only creature that dares to light a fire and live with it.
                    The reason? Because he alone has learned to put it out."
                    - Henry Jackson Vandyke Jr. (1852-1933)


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