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Thread: It's TAX time

  1. #1
    Forum Member dfd3dfd3's Avatar
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    Default It's TAX time

    I had this thread in the career/paid section and didnt get any response, I dont think as many people look in that section, so I am trying my luck in here, here is the question.

    I was just curious what kind of standard deductions if any that you claim related to being a paid firefighter. I have deducted purchasing books and studying material in the past. Ive heard some guys deduct their shoes and clothing that they have to purchase themselves. Ive also heard one guy say that you can deduct a given amount per shift due to being in the mess for food allowance. What deductions do you take??


  2. #2
    Forum Member DaSharkie's Avatar
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    The food allowance was taken away a few years ago from what I understand. You used to be able to deduct X amount of money while working a 24 hour shift but that is no longer the case.

    As for deductions, uniforms, clothing, shoes, badges, turnout gear, helmets, FF gloves, flashlights, and equipment specific to the job that can't be worn as a civilian can be deducted, not T-shirts, socks, underwear etc, as these can.

    Con-ed, books, tuition, fees, mileage to and from classes (at 36.5 cents per mile this year), EMT / Paramedic refreshers, job related courses at a college, and stuff like that are deductable. You should get ahold of the pamphlets printed up by the IRS to look into things more.

    You need to keep receipts for this stuff in the case of an audit though. Otherwise you may have a problem with the government's own version of the mafia.

    It all adds up too. I got a hefty chunk from the feds last year and this year.
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    MembersZone Subscriber ullrichk's Avatar
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    Default

    Sharkie is correct.

    The IRS website has some specific examples of what can and cannot be deducted. It takes some hunting to find it though. I usually just ask my accountant.

    I can remember reading on the IRS site that on-duty meals are not allowable deductions. Uniform expenses are allowable IF the uniform is not clothing that can be worn as civilian attire. If you wear steel-toed shoes or boots, those would be allowable as safety gear. You could probably get by on non-safety shoes and departmental t-shirts, but there's always a risk of it being disallowed at audit time. Nomex underwear would probably qualify.

    Educational expenses are allowable deductions (including tuition) so long as the training or education is to maintain or improve your job skills and not to prepare you for another career. One grey area is cleared up in the tax guide: a school teacher getting a management degree in order to move into school administration has an allowable deduction. I read this as being a pretty direct analogy to a firefighter working on management or a related field in order to become an officer.

    I'm probably more conservative than my own accountant when it comes to income tax, so there may be other deductions that can be justified. You can write off anything so long as you don't get audited.
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    I know you CAN deduct "ruined meals" (getting runs during meal).

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    Forum Member firenresq77's Avatar
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    I heard something today about vehicles that are used for responses being able to be claimed this year. Supposedly it's new............ Anyone else heard anything about this? I'll believe it when I see it.

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    MembersZone Subscriber E229Lt's Avatar
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    I know you CAN deduct "ruined meals"
    Matty,
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    Default

    I haven't had to worry about this for a few years myself, but union dues were always deductible.

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    MembersZone Subscriber CFD Hazards's Avatar
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    Default

    You can also deduct for fire related magazine subscriptions and your home telephone or pager. You are probably required to have a way for your department to contact you and this may be partially written off. You can deduct for mileage while going from one job to another or from station to station on OT/coverage.

  9. #9
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    Exclamation

    Not to ruin all the fun....

    Just a reminder for everyone... These deductions only have value if you are itemizing your deductions. That is, the sum of your allowable deductions are more than the standard deduction (I believe it's $4750 single and $9500 married for '03). For those that own property and can deduct their interest on mortgage and some property taxes, they will likely be itemizing. For the younger crowd, who perhaps doesn't have all of the allowable deductions, the standard deduction is most likely the way to go, and thus the work related expenses are esessentiall "non-deductible" in that case.

    Firenresq77 - I haven't seen anything about vehicles used for responses allowed to be deducted. As someone else mentioned, mileage can be deducted for the time traveled to training, the fire station (for volunteers), etc. Although career firefighters drive to their stations as well, it is most likely not an allowable deduction because in general the transportation costs to your primary job are considered personal, and thus non deductible.

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