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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