Can I deduct shoes, make-up, haircuts, etc.?
With regards to shoes, make-up, haircuts, nails, etc. this is unequivocally a No. Sorry. The Tax Court has ruled that any uniform item that can easily be converted to personal use is not deductible (shoes, nylons, socks). Haircuts, make-up and manicures were also denied since they are personal in nature Here is a part of Tax Court Summary 2010-47 about a Continental flight attendant:
As a condition of her employment, petitioner was required to wear a uniform provided by Continental. Petitioner was also required to wear plain black shoes and pantyhose, and use approved luggage. Petitioner testified that she would never wear pantyhose or her work shoes in her ‘real life’; nevertheless the shoes and pantyhose are adaptable to general use as ordinary clothing.
Grooming expenses (i.e., hair and nail maintenance) are inherently personal expenses, and amounts expended for grooming are not deductible regardless of whether an employer requires an employee to be well groomed. Hynes v. Commissioner, 74 T.C. 1266, 1292 (1980). Accordingly, petitioner is not entitled to a $520 deduction for grooming expenses.
Some accountants continue to deduct shoes if they are purchased from a uniform supplier- this could be problematic especially given the strong court language above, but this could also go either way during an audit.