Can you claim certifications on your income taxes?

wiseguywiseguy CISSP, GSEC, CompTIA Secure Infrastructure Specialist, CompTIA IT Operations Specialist, MCSE SecuriMember Posts: 61 ■■■□□□□□□□
Without writing a complete novel in this post I will try to summate the circumstances. I have within this year worked as contractor who doesn’t reimburse for IT certifications. I transitioned from the Help Desk into the role of Windows System administrator and within that time I worked towards and earned the MCSE certification.

Since I paid out of pocket without reimbursement from the employer would it be possible to claim the cost of the exams as a tax write off for career development to which the position I held Windows Systems Administrator.Has anyone indeed done this in the past and is it possible? The best resource information I have found so far is the following link: http://www.irs.gov/publications/p970/ch12.html

Comments

  • JDMurrayJDMurray MSIT InfoSec CISSP SSCP GSEC EnCE C|EH Cloud+ CySA+ CASP+ PenTest+ Security+ Surf City, USAAdmin Posts: 12,544 Admin
    I believe that if your employer requires you to be professionally certified as part of the terms of your employment, but refuses to actually pay for your certification, you can then legally deduct your certification expenses. However, a tax auditor will want to see an official document from your employer stating that this situation exists.

    Don't forget that State and Federal tax laws can be different for what is deductible. And using a Schedule A or C to itemize your deductions automatically flags your tax form for closer scrutiny by the IRS.
  • wiseguywiseguy CISSP, GSEC, CompTIA Secure Infrastructure Specialist, CompTIA IT Operations Specialist, MCSE Securi Member Posts: 61 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Thank you JDMurray. I appreciate hearing your insight on this.
  • blargoeblargoe Self-Described Huguenot NC, USAMember Posts: 4,174 ■■■■■■■■■□
    I claim income from self-employment for some work I do on the side, and have claimed the certification as a business expense before.
    IT guy since 12/00

    Recent: 11/2019 - RHCSA (RHEL 7); 2/2019 - Updated VCP to 6.5 (just a few days before VMware discontinued the re-cert policy...)
    Working on: RHCE/Ansible
    Future: Probably continued Red Hat Immersion, Possibly VCAP Design, or maybe a completely different path. Depends on job demands...
  • Devin McCloudDevin McCloud Member Posts: 133
    Certifications fall under the education expenses and are fully deductible off your taxes. My a+ was filed for a tax credit of $220..the cost of both tests on my 2006 tax form. It's no different then college tuition costs or higher learning. Most people don't realize this and are screwed out of money from the IRS, then again any thing you buy for your job is deductible....clothes, tools or equipment.
    The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either.
  • JDMurrayJDMurray MSIT InfoSec CISSP SSCP GSEC EnCE C|EH Cloud+ CySA+ CASP+ PenTest+ Security+ Surf City, USAAdmin Posts: 12,544 Admin
    then again any thing you buy for your job is deductible....clothes, tools or equipment.
    Just because Turbo Tax lets you do something doesn't mean it will survive a formal tax audit. Deductions always cost you something somewhere, so a little due diligence now might save you a lot of pain and money later.
  • Devin McCloudDevin McCloud Member Posts: 133
    Maybe I should have been more specific. What I meant is that anything your required to buy for your job such as clothes,tools and equipment are deductible. If you own the business anything you buy for that business is deductible.
    The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either.
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