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Can you write off PPE gear this tax season? Experts say it depends what your job is

Be prepared for a unique tax season
Posted at 2:30 PM, Mar 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-01 14:31:47-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — Tax season is upon us and this time around there are a few extra things to consider before filing.

Not everyone had the benefit of working remotely during the pandemic. Plenty of workers spent money on personal protective equipment, or PPE, and other gear, just so they could work safely at the office.

Tax experts say there's one question they've been getting a lot from filers: Can workers write off expenses for items that protected them from getting sick? Tax analysts say for most people, the answer is no, you're not able to use that as a deduction.

Turns out, items like masks and hand sanitizer can't be written off unless a person is self-employed, or a teacher.
There is a provision under the second Coronavirus Relief Package that allows teachers to include personal protective equipment in their deduction, but the rest of the workforce can't deduct those items.

One expert says workers might be able to deduct COVID-19 tests.

"You may be able to if you incurred expenses, medical expenses related to the pandemic," said Nathan Rigney, in an interview with our affiliate Newsy.

Rigney is a Principal Tax Research Analyst for H & R Block. "You can deduct those as medical expenses if you itemize and you meet the threshold," he said.

Tax returns for the majority of Americans are due by April 15. Last month, the IRS granted an extension for all individuals and businesses operating in Texas and counties in nearby states declared disaster areas by FEMA because of winter storms.

This story originally reported by Renae Skinner on KOAA.com.