I need to look good in business meetings. May I deduct my salon tab?

July 22, 2015 by Dave Du Val, EA
Woman

Hey Dave,

I do PR in the Bay Area. My hairstylist says I can deduct my entire salon bill on my taxes because it helps me look good at business meetings and events. Is this correct?

Juanita

 

Juanita,

I have never attended beauty school, and if I provided you with free beauty tips I would hope you would not take me or my advice seriously. For the same reason, I highly recommend that you refrain from listening to any tax advice you receive from well-meaning friends and other people you know and meet, including your hair stylist. And now for the answer to your question…

Unfortunately, the IRS does not allow a deduction for payments made for keeping up your appearance, such as hair-styling and nail maintenance, as these costs are considered to be personal grooming expenses. Even if an employer requires an employee to keep their hair short or cut in a certain way, the cost of the haircut is still considered to be a nondeductible personal expense, or so has said the Tax Court in numerous instances in which the IRS was challenged on this point.

There is quite a bit of misinformation out there about what you can deduct. Any tax advice that seems too good to be true is probably just that. As a general practice, always verify any advice you receive about what you can deduct before acting on it, even if it does happen to be a tax practitioner.

Deductibly Yours,

Dave

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Rhonda D. Guillory, EA
Learning and Development Manager

 

Rhonda was a Seasonal Tax Return Reviewer at TaxAudit before joining the permanent staff as an Audit Representative in 2009. She has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and worked in the Information Technology field for 15 years before making a career change. Since transitioning to the field of income tax in 2003, she has prepared and analyzed hundreds of tax returns. Rhonda enjoys helping taxpayers and tax professionals learn and understand the fascinating world of income taxes. Currently, she is the Learning and Development Manager.


 

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