Can LEO Reserves write duty gear off on taxes?

This is a discussion on Can LEO Reserves write duty gear off on taxes? within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; AS I have been looking at the uniforms I will have to buy, the duty gear, a vest, practice ammo, maybe another pistol, etc, it ...

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Thread: Can LEO Reserves write duty gear off on taxes?

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    Distinguished Member Array Chaplain Scott's Avatar
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    Can LEO Reserves write duty gear off on taxes?

    AS I have been looking at the uniforms I will have to buy, the duty gear, a vest, practice ammo, maybe another pistol, etc, it adds up pretty darn fast. Just wondering if we can write this stuff off as professional expenses. As Reserves we don't get paid, but we are covered by Workmen's comp.

    (I already emailed the SGT who is our main instructor at the Academy, but I figure asking multiple sources won't hurt.)

    Inquiring minds want to know.
    Scott, US Army 1974-2004

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    Member Array Domr's Avatar
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    I perform a lot of work with taxes, but I do not have any experience in your area, so this is only my 2 cents.
    At first glance, the fact that you aren't paid seems to work against you. The IRS would maybe consider this a "hobby" rather than occupation. Doesn't have to make sense...it's the government! This would perhaps be along the lines of a ham radio operator that supports emergency communications. They use their own gear, and it's an extension of their hobby.
    Granted, it's not a direct correlation to your situation, but just an example. Best bet would be to discuss how those in your group handle their situation. Keep in mind that you will need to itemize your deductions to take advantage of the business expense deduction, and the total deduction must be over 2% of AGI to kick in. Welcome to the wide world of taxes.

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    VIP Member Array nedrgr21's Avatar
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    Are you already itemizing your deductions? If not, how far away are you from your std ded? - will your expenses put you over the threshold?
    Is the reserves program similar to volunteer firefighters (generally attend weekly meetings for drills, inspections, and training. The firefighters are subject to the direction and supervision of a captain, an assistant chief, or a chief. Either party may terminate the relationship at any time.)?
    When figuring your expenses, include mileage - actual deduction can vary depending on how you are able to deduct expenses; as volunteer/charitable donation or job expense.
    Check out Rev. Rul. 87-41, 1987-1 C.B. 269
    Can you use any of the equipment in normal, day to day activities?

    Maybe RockandGlock will chime in.

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    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    My tax advisor last year advised me to keep track of all my expenses related to my duties with the police auxiliary, claiming that they were tax deductible. Things like body armor, my sidearms, ammo, range fees, etc - everything that I had to pay for out of my own pocket.

    I guess I'll find out when we file...
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    They should be tax deductible.

    Technically, the fact that you aren't getting paid is irrelevant. If you are a sworn officer then you are "employed" by the dept,whether you get compensated or not, you are carried on their insurance if you get hurt, so that is considered employment, the equipment is required to for the job, you need to keep all receipts and tally them up at the end of the year. Gun,ammo,vest,belt, everything.
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    Distinguished Member Array Chaplain Scott's Avatar
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    Thanks guys!! Glock and rock said he would check it out this coming week, so we will see.
    Scott, US Army 1974-2004

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    Based on the holding in Rev. Rul. 55-109, 1955-1 CB 261,Rev. Rul. the Uniform and other Duty Gear costs are deductible. This would include the costs to acquire the uniforms and gear, cleaning costs, mileage and other costs associated with your position

    The costs are deductible as Itemized Deductions subject to the 2% limitations generally.

    Domr and nedrgr21 get Honorable Mention and a Silver Star. 10thmtn and HotGuns had it correct and get Gold Stars. Hope this helps!

    Richard

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    Distinguished Member Array Chaplain Scott's Avatar
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    "Thank you" to everybody---I think everybody in my Academy class tonight will appreciate the insight as well.
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    Scott, US Army 1974-2004

    Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.
    - Ronald Reagan

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