1. #1
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    Tax write-offs for Law Enforcement

    I was thinking about doing my own taxes again this year and have heard that as a police officer, I might be able to deduct certain things. I bought an AR15 patrol rifle, several extras for it (optics, mags, sling etc...), and lots of ammo for both the rifle and my handgun. I've heard both arguments as to whether these things can be deducted. Any personal experience with this? I'm sure I'm not the first. Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rookie2812 View Post
    I was thinking about doing my own taxes again this year and have heard that as a police officer, I might be able to deduct certain things. I bought an AR15 patrol rifle, several extras for it (optics, mags, sling etc...), and lots of ammo for both the rifle and my handgun. I've heard both arguments as to whether these things can be deducted. Any personal experience with this? I'm sure I'm not the first. Thanks.
    Disclaimer: I am in no way a tax expert!

    I've always done my own taxes. My experience, unless you own a home or have some other large dedution, its easier and more economical to use the standard deduction. However, if you do itemize, a good rule is "Did you get it for work?"

    There's some good info on this form.
    http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p529.pdf

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    If you have to pay the phone company to keep your number unlisted, you can claim that.

    If you have bought Text books for college you can claim them as well.

    M-11

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    All firearms I have bought that were used for duty and as seconds along with all accessories I have written off. I don't always carry the same guns when at work but that is the reason I bought them.
    Example: Though I am issued a weapon I bought a 1911 and now carry it. ALL replaced parts, mags, holster, and lights were written off.
    Example #2: All ammo bought for the range and equipment (eyes/ears) have been written off.

    Madchikn has a point. If you don't reach a certain amount it will be worthless to try too. I right off two homes and a number of other things so my money always comes back to me.

    TGY
    Disclaimer: The writer does not represent any organization, employer, entity or other individual. The views expressed are those only of the writer. In the case of a sarcastic, facetious, nonsensical, stirring-the-pot, controversial or devil's advocate-type post, the views expressed may not even reflect those of the writer [This sig stolen from Brickcop who stole it from Frank Booth].

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    DAL
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    In addition, you can only deduct employee business expenses to the extent that they exceed 2% of your adjusted gross income. So, for example, if your AGI is $50,000, you will not be able to claim the first $1000 of employee business deductions even if you itemize.
    Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
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    rookie... my suggestion would be to ask your Union or a tax guy for a list. Basics are: All non-reimbursed uniform/gear/firearm/ammo/training/'work-related' education and classes, training and court mileage. Just to name a few.

    To a certain extent it also depends on your dept policies and issued gear. If you really can't find a list, IM me and I will email you the one I have.

    Scrubb
    “You sleep safe in your beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do you harm.”

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    If I can find the sheet, i'll post it. But the person that did my taxes last year gave me a sheet that shows what is able to be written off for law enforcement.

    So I was able to write off any purchases made that is work related (AR15, Ammo, Flash lights, Shirts, Socks, etc). Gym memberships, Union Dues, Half of Cellular phone bill, Internet, etc.

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    Be careful about writing off what others tell you are safe deductions. Read the 1040 instructions carefully. You can only deduct clothing if wearing the item in public off duty could subject you to inconvenience by the public. Since wearing a department uniform shirt or trousers in public could cause you inconvenience, they would be deductible. Black socks and most regulation shoes would not cause you inconvenience so not deductible. Gym membership, perhaps if your department demands that you meet certain dtandards on a weekly or monthly schedule they might be up to the point of what is reasonable to attain the standard.

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    DAL
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dinosaur32 View Post
    Be careful about writing off what others tell you are safe deductions. Read the 1040 instructions carefully.
    Yes. I have found that many tax preparers overreach when it comes to what is deductible. They get business by getting big refunds for their clients. But when you are audited, the taxes, interest and penalties are your responsibility.
    Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

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    double post
    Last edited by Dinosaur32; 02-11-2008 at 10:28 AM. Reason: double post

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    You can find some unexpected deductions....most education is not deductible but anything that improves your ability to do your job is. So when I was in law school, I deducted the cost of any course that was related to law enforcement. Here's one not related to LE....if you and your wife work and you send your child to pre-K (or in some states where K is not considered school, K also) the cost of the school is deductible as a child care expense as is day camp but not sleep-away camp.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dinosaur32 View Post
    You can find some unexpected deductions....most education is not deductible but anything that improves your ability to do your job is. So when I was in law school, I deducted the cost of any course that was related to law enforcement. Here's one not related to LE....if you and your wife work and you send your child to pre-K (or in some states where K is not considered school, K also) the cost of the school is deductible as a child care expense as is day camp but not sleep-away camp.
    You can deduct tuition from college education (unsure about private school for the kids or graduate school). Its not with the rest of the deductions though. It has a seperate line and form (which is new for this year). Lines 33 and 34 on the 1040...

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    Try this website http://www.timkelly.com/. He is retired LE. He has a great tax deduction sheet on his page. To answer your question, you can deduct your rifle and the other things you baught for it. I'm not sure if ammo is deductable.

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    You can deduct the ammoyou use each month to maintain your shooting skills plus whatever you are authorized to carry on and off duty if your job does not provide it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DAL View Post
    In addition, you can only deduct employee business expenses to the extent that they exceed 2% of your adjusted gross income. So, for example, if your AGI is $50,000, you will not be able to claim the first $1000 of employee business deductions even if you itemize.
    This is correct. Most people overlook the 2% exception and try to deduct all expenses. If you have $600 in union dues and $1000 in equipment uniform expense (that is NOT compensated...if you get a uniform allowance, this works against the total), you have $1600 in work expenses. Given the above example, only $600 can be deducted from your income, which, depending on your tax rate, saves about $30 in taxes.
    My posts are sometimes educated, sometimes informed, and sometimes blowing smoke...but they are mine and mine alone and do not reflect on anyone else (especially my employer).

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    If your uniform allowance is taxed, I believe you do not have to balance uyour expenses against the allowance before taking the deduction, just apply the 2% exemption to your expenses.

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