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  1. #1
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    Tax Deductions for Law Enforcement

    Does anybody have any good suggestions on any websites or other information that has details on tax deductions for law enforcement personnel? I know that a number of our people deduct:

    -union dues

    -cleaning expenses for uniforms

    -equipment purchased for work

    But I suspect that I might be missing some deductions. I take the above along with the cost of police magazine subscriptions, but I am thinking that I still might be missing some.

  2. #2
    Charges-Like-Rhino
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    Don't forget haircuts and grooming supplies (razorblades are getting real expensive, so you're damn right I write those off).

    Shoe shining gear, gun cleaning gear, bicycle/automobile equipment. A percentage of my internet and cell phone. Socks, underwear (underarmor), and anything else I can think of I use at work.
    You have no right to not be offended.-Neal Boortz

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    Business expenses have to exceed a certain percentage of your income before it is tax deductible. Just like medical expenses do.

    Some of you are riding on borrowed time before you get audited, IMHO.

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    Charges-Like-Rhino
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    And you know this how? What's the percentage? Any cops been audited before get penalized for doing such? Please share.
    You have no right to not be offended.-Neal Boortz

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    John 15:13 KJV
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    mileage on your personal vehicle to go to training or special assignment, that you are not reimbursed by the department.

    Any training or classes that you took that is law enforcment related which the department did not pay for.

    Unform/duty belt items, and other law enforement equipment to help you do your job.

    Dry Cleaning if you have to pay for it your self.

    That is all I can think of off the top of my head. If you have any doubt or question, write me, LPowell911@aol.com. I prepare income taxes on the side.
    Smile, It could be worse!


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    don't forget your cell phone bills, assuming you have made atleast one call in an official capacity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SHERIFF
    Business expenses have to exceed a certain percentage of your income before it is tax deductible. Just like medical expenses do.

    Some of you are riding on borrowed time before you get audited, IMHO.
    One last topic before I go home.
    According to my tax preparer anything you can deduct you should.
    -any hours worked that you aren't payed for- reports, being out there 15 minutes and not getting OT. Charge it as OT.
    -if you go on vaction, and you pick up an application and a business card from another dept- fill it out and send it back. then it becomes a job hunting trip- mileage,lodging,meals, and any airfare are all deductible. Even if you don't intend on taking this job. Make sure you keep the business card.(this can be HUGE)
    -all registration plate fees are deductible.
    -any work you do at home or on your own time- at OT rate.
    -haircuts and grooming only if your dept policy requires it.
    -car washes that don't get reimburesed.
    -any anti-static spray, so long as you use it on your uniforms.
    -any cleaning supplies you buy to use at work.
    -ALL medications, including asprin, cold medicine, etc. They are not medical bills as H&R Blockhead will tell you. They are medications and they ARE deductible.
    -pens, pencils, keys for work.
    -note pads for work.
    -claim all of you mileage to court, if your department doesn't let you take a dept. vehicle.
    -of course home loan interest is deductible.
    -recreational home loan interest is deductible (including a boat with plumbing and running water with sleeping quarters. But there are other rules for this)
    -donations such as to a church, or other.

    If you are deducting things without receipts or written proof, keep a planner or calander and make sure you write it all down. The IRS just really wants to see it in writing. But lord help you if you don't write it down! Our tax lady says that if you aren't sure, ask. If no one knows the answer- you probably better not try to claim it.
    Last edited by hounddog; 03-13-2006 at 04:26 AM.

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    This might sound like a long shot, but someone suggested that I could deduct something because I keep my take home unmarked in a garage. I am kind of skeptical, but maybe it is true. And if it is true, how would I determine how much of a deduction to take?

  9. #9
    John 15:13 KJV
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim1648
    This might sound like a long shot, but someone suggested that I could deduct something because I keep my take home unmarked in a garage. I am kind of skeptical, but maybe it is true. And if it is true, how would I determine how much of a deduction to take?
    It is a stretch, but could be something to research further. The argument could be if you are required to take home this unmarked vehicle, and for the sake of safety and prevent damage by vandals, you are going to store the vehicle in your garage. If it is so, it would be the business portion of your residence. You would figure the total area (square feet/meter) of your home, including the garage. Then the business portion would be just the area of your garage.

    Total Area of Home Including Garage = 1500 sq ft

    Business Area of Garage (22x25) = 550 sq ft

    Business Use of Home Pct. = 36.67%




    You would then calculate 36.67% of your rent, electric bills (lighting of the garage and/or garage door opener operation), renters insurance, repairs and maintenance on the garage, and put that on your Business Use of Home Form. If you own the home, then you would calculate instead of rent, 36.67% of the mortgage interest paid. The remainer 63.33% would then be placed on your Schedule A. You would still figure the 36.67% of your homeowners insurance, instead of renter's insurance, on your Business Use of Home Form.



    Feel free to contact me if you have other questions.
    Smile, It could be worse!


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    Quote Originally Posted by LPowell911
    It is a stretch, but could be something to research further. The argument could be if you are required to take home this unmarked vehicle.........
    Then you have to claim the benefits of having the vehicle as "income".

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    Red face where to claim firearm purchase

    I am a bit of a dumby on taxes so forgive me. So where do you enter it to claim a firearm purchase? Under work Asset? Any suggestions. I am using TurboTax so it guides you through it but that appears to be the only section to enter it. Thanks

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    Well make sure you claim any free meals or coffee as income :-).

  13. #13
    hobbsie711
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    I always claim any ammo I buy for the range for my duty and off duty weapon. I have a buddy who claims his gym membership but my dept doesn't have height / weight or fitness standards so I don't think we can get away with that in an audit.
    Last edited by hobbsie711; 01-06-2009 at 11:30 PM. Reason: I can't spell

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    Since Phoenix doesn't let patrol guys workout on duty (during your lunch break) I'm also allowed to write off my gym membership dues...along with all the other stuff posted above.

  15. #15
    Molon Labe
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    While the IRS doesnt seem to have issues with most business deductions (everyone here uses most of the above items as a business expense, and have not had any issues....even during an audit), they will give you the stink eye for deducting your house as a business expense......even at a small percentage (like 10% for a home office ect) has a good chance of resulting in an audit......you might not 'lose' the audit, but it is better to not even be on the radar in the first place.....
    The posts on this forum by this poster are of his personal opinion, and his personal opinion alone

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    man, I never knew how much you could write off....

    sounds like you could get a BIIIGGGG sum of money back...

    about the gym membership and stuff. would it cause an issue if say there was a 20 dollar gym avaliable, but you go to a 100 dollar one and try to get that written off? what if they say 'well why don't you go to the cheaper gym, this is unnecessary' ??

    how does mileage work? say I lease my car @ 400 a month. I drive to work and back with a total of 20 miles a day. what is the reimbursement based on?? current gas price? % of the lease + fuel???

  17. #17
    Molon Labe
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    The main to remember about deductions is DOCUMENTATION.....if you take the deduction, you better have the reciept to prove it.......

    Deducting milage is another landmine......you can do it, but you better have the WRITTEN documentation to show if you get audited........this is another deduction that they are scrutinizing very closely the last few years.....

    You usually cannot deduct milage for simple commuting back/forth to work.......only for going to training, court ect......you get a certain amount per mile, and it will be listed on the form that you submit to the IRS......
    The posts on this forum by this poster are of his personal opinion, and his personal opinion alone

    "Politicians are like diapers. They need to be changed often and for the same reason"

    "We fight not for glory; nor for wealth; nor honor, but only and alone we fight for freedom, which no good man surrenders but with his life"

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    For me it's always been if your itemizing work related deductions you need to have more than $10,000 worth. You automatically get that much, so you need to be over that amount of work related expenses to get anymore credit for it. Thats why I don't even bother keeping reciepts anymore for taxes, I'm never close to that amount.

  19. #19
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    All I can advise if find a tax person that specializes in LE taxes. I use Molen and Associates in houston and they are tha bomb.

  20. #20
    In the Woods

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    I claim a piece of the house, as well as the driveway. But I also have a written job description that backs up what I'm doing. My office has a door and if audited they would find nothing but work items in the room. My accountant did insist on looking at everything before she would put all down.
    Having an STD377 on file keeps me from having to claim the take-home rig as a benefit too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 417Lt View Post
    I claim a piece of the house, as well as the driveway. But I also have a written job description that backs up what I'm doing. My office has a door and if audited they would find nothing but work items in the room. My accountant did insist on looking at everything before she would put all down.
    Having an STD377 on file keeps me from having to claim the take-home rig as a benefit too.
    Do they have any medicine that will cure that yet....

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by LA DEP View Post
    While the IRS doesnt seem to have issues with most business deductions (everyone here uses most of the above items as a business expense, and have not had any issues....even during an audit), they will give you the stink eye for deducting your house as a business expense......even at a small percentage (like 10% for a home office ect) has a good chance of resulting in an audit......you might not 'lose' the audit, but it is better to not even be on the radar in the first place.....

    +1. I know we could also deduct our home phone bill of we were subject to call back.

    A deduction on a part of your home for business purposes is usually a "red flag" that the IRS will look at a little harder (or so I've been told by our accountant) and in general not worth the effort unless you are a full-time home office worker. Also, when you sell your home, I think you must either forfeit or pay additional taxes on that portion of the proceeds. Unsure exactly, but there is a downside upon the sale of your home with regards to the % deduction you have taken over the years for a business expense on the home. Somebody know if I'm on the right track here?
    "...Because some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn."

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    [QUOTE=eyildiz;1579286] about the gym membership and stuff. would it cause an issue if say there was a 20 dollar gym avaliable, but you go to a 100 dollar one and try to get that written off? what if they say 'well why don't you go to the cheaper gym, this is unnecessary' ??QUOTE]

    They can't make you go to a certain gym regardless of the cost.

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    Be careful!

    Most of the expenses people are listing are what are referred to as "Miscelleaneous Business Expenses". These are allowed but are subject to a 2% floor.

    So 1st you have to itemize your deductions to be able to take them, 2nd the aggregate amount must exceed 2% of your AGI (adjusted gross income) before it actually makes a difference on your tax return.

    So let's say a police office makes $75,000 and their AGI is $50,000. The employee expenses would have to exceed $1,000 before making a difference. The first $1,000 of expenses would not be deductible, but any amount over that threshold could be deducted.

    There is a lot of mis-information in this thread so far. I recommend that everyone consult a tax expert or read the rules before taking any deduction. Make sure you can back it up before you put it on your tax return.

    I'm sure your agencies wouldn't appreciate knowing that you were breaking the law on your taxes while trying to enforce the law in your jurisdiction.

  25. #25
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    While I'm no tax expert, I discovered last year that you CANNOT deduct gym memberships, or health spa expenses as the IRS calls them. Here's the link.

    http://www.irs.gov/publications/p529...blink100027041

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