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scholls22
02-06-2007, 04:21 PM
Hey,

What are some deductions that ya'll are claiming on taxes this year??? I am trying to make a list of things to claim so that I dont get the shaft!!!

SacSSD
02-06-2007, 04:43 PM
Just keep in mind that you can only deduct items that are solely used for your work in law enforcement. For example if your department requires you to wear a suit when you testify in court you cannot deduct the cost of the suit because a regular dress suit can be used for other purposes. The same applies to gear that you use for work. If you are part of a water rescue team and you wear a wet suit that does not have any law enforcement logo or department identification it would also be a no on the deduction list as well.

Mileage is a good deduction though if you have to use your own vehicle when you go qualify with your firearm, testify in court, or anything else work related. You just can't deduct the miles that you drive to and from work everyday.

malka881
02-06-2007, 05:19 PM
Job related expenses are considered 'miscellaneous itemized deductions' and are only deductible when they exceed 2% of your adjusted gross income. In english, that means unless you pay a mortgage or have crippling medical bills it probably isn't worth it. If you do pay a mortgage, by all means make the list.

If the department requires you to have it, does not reimburse you for it, you couldn't wear it outside in your off time, and you're not getting any personal gain out of it, put it on the list. This includes professional association fees, continuing education, professional magazines, telephone connection service (if you're required to have a landline) uniforms, gear used specifically for the job, and travel in your POV for department business to the extent it exceeds your commute (make sure you log your mileage).

Beyond that, feel free to toss specific stuff out, and I'll be happy to answer what I can.

Circular 230 Disclosure:
To ensure compliance with requirements
imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any U.S. federal tax advice
contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not
intended or written to be used, and cannot be used for the purpose of
(i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii)
promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or
matter addressed herein.

Da Po-po
02-06-2007, 07:21 PM
Just keep in mind that you can only deduct items that are solely used for your work in law enforcement. For example if your department requires you to wear a suit when you testify in court you cannot deduct the cost of the suit because a regular dress suit can be used for other purposes. The same applies to gear that you use for work. If you are part of a water rescue team and you wear a wet suit that does not have any law enforcement logo or department identification it would also be a no on the deduction list as well.

Mileage is a good deduction though if you have to use your own vehicle when you go qualify with your firearm, testify in court, or anything else work related. You just can't deduct the miles that you drive to and from work everyday.

OK, now my understanding of this has always been that you can claim any item that you use for police employment that is not reimbursed by the employer. If it can be used for personal use as well, you can only claim the portion for work use. I have never seen or heard any sort of requirement that it have a department logo on it. With that rationale, basically any item you buy would not be deductible. A flashlight, a firearm, pens, whatever else, can be used for personal use as well, but is a work related item.

I have a list provided by Jackson Hewitt tax company and they break it down like this:

Supplies: Ammo, batteries, Brasso/cleaners, clip boards, computer supplies/repairs, gun cleaning items or repairs, ID cases, duty gear, maps, notebooks, penal code books, radio paging service, tools, whistle.

Equipment: Ammo, batons, binoculars, briefcases, body armor, flashlights, gloves, gun grips/mags/sights, handcuffs, helmets, key strap, scales (for evidence), printer for car, rifle rests, tape recorder/tapes, targets, ticket book holders, web/leather gear, emergency equipment for car.

Professional Expenses: Professional society dues (FOP,PBA, etc), employment services, liability insurance, license renewal, professional magazines/journals, union/protective services dues.

Educational expenses: Books, continuing education tuition (including college courses directly related to your field), martial arts/self defense training tuition, NRA instruction fees, mileage to school

Uniform expenses: Uniforms & repairs, emblems, polishes & cleaners, boots, ties, coats, hats, foul weather gear, dry cleaning, thermal wear.

Other Expenses: Informant expenses (I guess get a receipt from that crack whore next time), K-9 expenses, range fees, cell phone.

Safety equipment: Ear protection, safety glasses, other safety gear.

It also says that the US Supreme Court found that meal deductions were acceptable as a deductible item. An accountant used a figure of $8.00 per day for meals and it was accepted by the IRS. It should be submitted on form 2106 (unless that has changed since I got this in 2002).

Now obviously, I'm not a tax expert so use this info at your own risk. All I can say is that based on what I have read in the tax code, this list seems to be accurate and I have used it for years now. I deduct my college tuition and books since I am working on a Criminology degree, my cell phone, and any incidental items. Keep in mind, you can't claim anything your employer issues or pays you back for. Hope this helps.

SacSSD
02-06-2007, 07:28 PM
I am not a tax expert either. Our department has had a tax attorney who used to be an IRS agent give seminars about tax deductions for law enforcement. He explained that if an item has any value to you while you are off duty and the items cannot be solely tied to your position as a law enforcement officer then it can not be deducted. As for the meals I have always been told that you cannot deduct your meals because they are not related to your actual work. You would have had to eat anyways.

I would guess that you can deduct what ever you want to but be prepared to have to explain the deductions to the IRS if you get audited.

Good Luck!

jmat1980
02-06-2007, 08:12 PM
I have also heard that meals are deductible...
Does any one have any regulations on this in writing?

Kieth M.
02-06-2007, 08:33 PM
Check with your tax preparer regarding:

Wristwatches

Sunglasses

Five-0fromSoCal
02-06-2007, 08:56 PM
Go to a tax attorney that specializes with law enforcement. Its worth the money.

Tim Dees
02-06-2007, 09:54 PM
I used to make it a point to go to at least two, and often more, training conferences or other training sessions a year, and they would almost always be out of town. Airfare or mileage, hotel, meals (50% of them now), conference fees, and incidentals were all deductible. I would live well while on those trips - stay in a nice hotel, eat what and where I wanted, etc. Keep in mind that I was single and had the disposable income, but I figured it was better to improve my professional skills and enjoy at least part of the money it cost me, rather than give it all the Uncle Sam.

Maybe this is a "knock on wood" deal, but I've been itemizing deductions since the mid-1970s and have never been audited. I also claim all of my income, including things that the IRS probably wouldn't know about, like royalties on books, speaker's fees, and payments for articles I've written. I take all the deductions I'm entitled to, but I also report all of the income that they're based on.

During the 1980s in Reno, it was rare to get audited if you worked outside of the gaming industry, as most of the audit efforts were directed at casino employees who weren't reporting tip income (which, for some, was 80% or more of their compensation). Now most employees put their tips into a pool that is collected by the employer and paid back out to them in their paychecks, less taxes. The chances for a cop to be audited are now about the same as for anyone else.

I was aware of cops that really pushed the envelope on income reporting. We were paid $25 witness fees whenever we appeared in certain courts or hearings. These were paid in separate checks, directly from the county or state, so they didn't appear on our W-2s. I would routinely get three to eight checks on payday, only one of which came from the city. There were guys that never reported this money (most especially not to their wives), plus had side businesses like t-shirt printing and landscaping that they kept off the books. Several got audited, and narrowly avoided losing their jobs. This, of course, was on top of what they had to pay to the IRS.

I am also not a tax adviser, but my understanding of deductible purchases for work is that the item(s) purchased must be solely for work, if the cost is to be deductible. So, a uniform shirt is deductible, because you can't wear it for non-work purposes, but a suit for court appearances can also be worn to church, so that one is on you. Similarly, anything you pay for that might be required by your employer, but that you would have anyway, is not deductible. So your phone service is probably not deductible even if your employer requires you to have a phone, because you would most likely have phone service anyway. If you have a line or cell phone account that is used solely for work purposes, you might have a better argument. Haircuts, shoe shining, gym memberships, internet service and other things that spill over into private life are also not allowed.

I once again emphasize that this is just me talking, and not the advice of a qualified tax adviser, attorney, or my employer. The advice is free, and worth at least half that.

Kevin_Callahan
02-07-2007, 01:38 AM
I long for the day when police and fire are exempt from Federal and State taxes. I won't hold my breath though....

biggreen
02-07-2007, 01:47 PM
Be careful whom you go to. I've seen guys go to a tax preparer that always gets them a ton of money. I've also seen many of the same people get audited and owe a ton of money. I would suggest asking some co-workers to find a reputable and reasonable accountant, or call around and see which ones have experience in dealing with preparing taxes for LEO's. Good luck and stay safe in Nawlins!

Da Po-po
02-07-2007, 09:08 PM
I have also heard that meals are deductible...
Does any one have any regulations on this in writing?

What I have says that in a court decision US v. Christy the lower court held that police officer meals were ordinary and necessary expenses for law enforcement and the Supreme Court declined to hear the US' appeal basically making the lower court decision case law. Again, it says you must deduct the meals on form 2106 and can use the figure $8.00 per day worked. All I can say about it is that it came from a tax preparation guy who does a lot of cop's returns at a Jackson Hewitt office.

Edited due to research:

After doing a LexisNexis search, I found the citation: 841 F.2d 809

This portion of the court decision seems to be the most relevant:


As a requirement of their job, troopers must comply with the rules and regulations contained in the General Orders of the Patrol. These orders address in detail the conduct required of troopers while on duty. General Order R 77-20-008 ("the [**4] General Order") provides troopers with specific instructions concerning meal breaks while on duty. The General Order requires that troopers "eat their meals in a public restaurant adjacent to the highway whenever practical" and "report by radio when they eat and * * * advise the telephone number or the code number of the restaurant where they are eating." The restaurant must be open to the public and may not serve liquor. The Order prohibits troopers from eating meals at home during working hours and has been interpreted to prohibit troopers from bringing meals from home and eating in their patrol cars. The Order also details the time at which troopers may eat, the time allowed for a meal, and the number of troopers who may eat together. Failure to adhere to these instructions renders troopers subject to reprimand.

As set forth in the General Order, the principal purpose of these requirements "is to promote public safety and obedience to the law through the physical presence of troopers in uniform and to facilitate, through availability to the public, the reporting of accidents and the dissemination of information with reference to the traffic and motor vehicle laws of the state. [**5] " The Order also ensures that meal breaks taken by the troopers are designated and staggered in order to maintain maximum coverage of patrol areas with minimal call response time.

There was testimony that during meals troopers are subject to calls for emergencies and other Patrol business to which they must respond immediately. Troopers are also subject to interruptions from the general public who are seeking information about road conditions, weather, traffic laws, and other subjects relating to trooper responsibilities. Thus, troopers are frequently interrupted during their meals and are often unable to finish meals for which they have paid.

...The district court, however, reasoned that the number of duty-related restrictions and requirements concerning their meals "effectively extended the performance of the troopers' duties from patrol cars on highways to tables in restaurants." Under these circumstances, the court concluded that the troopers' meal expenses were "ordinary and necessary" expenses. We do not believe this conclusion is clearly erroneous...

The restrictions here and their cumulative effect are substantial. n10 [*813] The troopers must eat at certain times and places. The troopers remain on duty throughout their meals. They may not bring a meal from home or return home to eat their meal. As part of their job the troopers are required during their meal break to be available to the public not only to respond to emergencies but to provide any information the public may seek. Thus, they are frequently interrupted during meals and are subject to being called away from a meal for an emergency, whether they have eaten what they have paid for or not.

School Cop
02-07-2007, 10:52 PM
The Order prohibits troopers from eating meals at home during working hours and has been interpreted to prohibit troopers from bringing meals from home and eating in their patrol cars.

That's bizarre. On second thought, that's effed up.
Four words: WORK IN ANOTHER STATE.

cookdawg53
02-07-2007, 10:59 PM
Hey,

What are some deductions that ya'll are claiming on taxes this year??? I am trying to make a list of things to claim so that I dont get the shaft!!!
Don't leave out your home office. If you have and use a home office a % of all util. and other expences make a good deduction. it is based on the square ft. of office vs. sq. ft. of your home. If it is a 200 sq ft. office in a 2000 ft. home it'll be 10% of your taxes, insurance, power and so on.

malka881
02-08-2007, 01:39 PM
I
I am also not a tax adviser, but my understanding of deductible purchases for work is that the item(s) purchased must be solely for work, if the cost is to be deductible. So, a uniform shirt is deductible, because you can't wear it for non-work purposes, but a suit for court appearances can also be worn to church, so that one is on you. Similarly, anything you pay for that might be required by your employer, but that you would have anyway, is not deductible. So your phone service is probably not deductible even if your employer requires you to have a phone, because you would most likely have phone service anyway. If you have a line or cell phone account that is used solely for work purposes, you might have a better argument. Haircuts, shoe shining, gym memberships, internet service and other things that spill over into private life are also not allowed.

In the absense of specific guidance on an item, and there is on clothing and personal care items, you can allocate things between personal and employee use. For example- you buy a box of ammunition, use half of it for training at the range, and the other half to go shooting with your friends. Half of that cost could be deducted, and half could not. You will need to document the cost of the ammunition and the dates and places used to take the deduction. The same can be done with services (such as phone service) if you can document the split between personal use and employee use and that the employer requires it.

BTW - on the home office deduction- Be aware that any depreciation taken as a deduction on a home office will subject you to taxation on the gain of sale to the extent of the depreciation taken in prior years, so you will need to keep detailed records for the entire period you own the property. There are also _detailed_ requirements for classifying an area as a home office, so be sure you comply with them before you take the deduction.

Circular 230 Disclosure:
To ensure compliance with requirements
imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any U.S. federal tax advice
contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not
intended or written to be used, and cannot be used for the purpose of
(i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii)
promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or
matter addressed herein.

SacSSD
02-08-2007, 02:21 PM
The deduction of phone service was mentioned.

Just a a word to the wise, on a separate note about phone service be careful about using your personal cell phone while on duty. We had a deputy that used his personal cell phone to make calls while he had a person in custody. The dirt bags lawyer subpoenaed the Deputies personal cell phone records. The department tried to fight the subpoena but it was ruled against. The dirt bag now had the phone numbers of the Deputies friends and family members.

Buddah
03-29-2008, 10:14 AM
Has anyone ever heard about a one time $3000.00 dollar deduction for those in a sworn status?

Jim1648
03-29-2008, 03:23 PM
This is quite timely for me since I was into Turbo Tax most of the morning. I am kind of on the fence on a couple of items. For example, I bought a Pelican 7060 flashlight that I use for work. I am thinking it is deductible, but it could be used for non-work purposes. Does the fact the the agency issues similar tools have any bearing on this? For example, I get an issued Streamlight Stinger, but I use my personal Pelican 7060 for work.

Another item is a scanner that I bought to monitor other agencies during work. Again it could be used off-duty, but I think of it as deductible.

I have a GPS that I use for work. If I buy new mapping software I think it may be deductible, but again it can be used for non-work purposes.

The whole meal thing is kind of a puzzler. I think it may have been the Minnesota State Patrol referred to earlier since they are expected to eat in a restaurant near a state highway. The whole meal thing is tempting, but I can certainly see the argument that you have to eat whether you are working or not.

The firearm issue can be sort of a puzzler, too. For example, say you are issued a Glock Model 22, but buy a "Baby Glock" on you own to carry off duty. You might not be required to carry a pistol off-duty, but then you might make the argument that if it were not for your line of work you wouldn't need to be armed. On the other hand you already have a Glock Model 22 that you could carry off-duty, although not nearly as inconspicuous as a smaller pistol.

If you really wanted to stretch it you could say that you are required to be a licensed driver, thus deduct the cost of renewing a drivers license. But again you probably would have a drivers license anyway, so some of these are really a stretch.

A little while back we were given a standard figure for uniform cleaning and maintenance even if you didn't save receipts. Again, wouldn't you have to have clean clothing anyway, but I guess it sort of depends on what you want to deduct and if you can justify it.

jchughes05
03-29-2008, 05:11 PM
1. Dry Cleaning bills
2. Any and all gear (holsters, mag pouches, flashlights, pens, etc.)
3. Gun/s purchased for O/D use (I'm gonna try it this year)
4. Gas, if you ONLY drove the vehicle to and from work, and only a POV

DAL
03-29-2008, 06:36 PM
1. Dry Cleaning bills
2. Any and all gear (holsters, mag pouches, flashlights, pens, etc.)
3. Gun/s purchased for O/D use (I'm gonna try it this year)
4. Gas, if you ONLY drove the vehicle to and from work, and only a POV

Number 4 definitely is NOT allowable.