Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Columbus TV anchor needs a new tax preparer

Just days after I published a blog post about Deducting the cost of Work Clothes and Uniforms, the Columbus Dispatch ran a story over the weekend about local TV anchor Anietra Hamper's issues with the IRS. To me this is a case of bad advice from a tax preparer.

IRS Publication 529 is clear when it comes to clothing costs. "It is not enough that you wear distinctive clothing. The clothing must be specifically required by your employer. Nor is it enough that you do not, in fact, wear your work clothes away from work. The clothing must before not be suitable for taking the place of your regular clothing."

If you can wear the clothing outside of work, it's not eligible for the deduction. When in doubt, don't claim it.

I don't know who is more negligent, the tax preparer or the accountant who Hamper hired to argue her case to the Internal Revenue Service. I suppose the tax accountant was paid to argue her case. However, both should have known better.

Taxpayers beware: Ultimately, you are responsible for your tax return and back taxes and interest. If your tax preparer suggests taking a deduction for something you're not comfortable with, ask other professionals and do a little research yourself.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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