As a firefighter, it is important to know all of the tax deductions that you are allowed to make. Most deductions related to your profession are categorized as miscellaneous deductions, and you need to itemize them on Schedule A of the IRS 1040 form. To be allowable deductions, they also need to total more than 2 percent of your gross income. However, you may only make itemized deductions or the IRS' standard deduction - not both. You may choose whichever type of deduction benefits you more.
Uniform and Protective Clothing
According to IRS rules, the costs you incur to buy your work uniform and the costs of maintenance for that uniform are fully deductible. However, for them to be deductible, your uniform must be required by your employer, and you cannot be able to wear it in daily activities. Since the jacket, shirt, pants, gloves and other items of a standard firefighter's uniform meets all of these requirements, you have the right to deduct it from your tax payment. Due to the nature of your profession, any costs you have for protective clothing -- such as safety shoes, goggles and helmets -- are also deductible expenses for you.
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Fees and Dues
If you are enrolled in professional groups or societies that have some relationship with your job as a firefighter, the dues and fees you pay to any such group are deductible. However, the expenses you incurred to enroll in the program, such as admission fees, are not deductible because the IRS considers it a type of investment. Payments to unions are also allowable tax deductions for you as long as they do not involve personal expenses.
The costs you pay in equipment that you use for your job are also deductible expenses. However, they must be necessary and ordinary expenses. "Necessary" means that you need the equipment for the adequate performance of your job. "Ordinary" means that such equipment is common in your work environment. In general, equipment you need as a firefighter -- such as safety glasses, pagers, polish, binoculars and flashlights -- meet these requirements. You can deduct their costs as long as your employer does not reimburse you for them.
Expenses that you have due to a business trip you needed to make are deductible expenses. For example, as a firefighter, you might need to travel for a training meeting or a conference, such as the Fire Department Instructors Conference or the Firehouse Central Conference. If the expenses you incur while traveling are not reimbursed by employers, they are fully deductible. These expenses include trip tickets, necessary transportation upon arrival, lodging and food.
If you incur telephone expenses directly related to your job, they are deductible as long as your employer does not reimburse you for them. For instance, the service for pagers or cellular phones can count as deductions if you buy them specifically to help you respond to emergencies.
Expenses you have for continuing education -- such as firefighter training sessions or seminars in which you learn new firefighting and safety techniques -- are deductible if your employer requires you to attend or if you choose to attend them because it will help you to improve your skills as a firefighter.