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Uniforms, Boots & Glasses

edited October 2010 in General Payroll Topics
I understand that any items not specifically excludable from income by the IRS must be included. This includes clothing/uniforms not required by the employer, but reimbursed if purchased by employee.

We do not require these items, but upon providing a receipt, we will reimburse an employee for steel toe boot purchases & prescription safety glasses. This $ is then added to their taxable income.

Is there anywhere that specifically lists safety/steel toe boots or safety glasses as includable or excludable?

I am being asked for citations.. and yes, yes I know..


  • Basically if you can wear the clothes outside of the workplace (ie..steel toe boots can be worn anywhere) then the reimbursement is taxable.
    Work Clothes and Uniform Allowances and Reimbursements
    Clothing or uniforms are excluded from wages of an employee if they are:

    •Specifically required as a condition of employment, and
    •Are not worn or adaptable to general usage as ordinary clothing.

    The accountable plan rules must be met for reimbursements or clothing allowances. IRC §162; Reg. §1.62-2(c)(1) see Page 62 & 63. Pg 63 speaks to the safety glasses and opens up a gray area regarding steel toe boots potentially classified as "safety equipment"
  • I thought safety shoes were safety shoes and shoes that were not safety shoes were generally clothing unless not adaptable for general use (eg clown shoes would e a "uniform". And, the publication cited above seems to say exactly that on page 62 - which, if it means what it seems to mean - eliminates the "gray area" with regard to safety shoes.
    Example: An agency is required to reimburse certain employees for shoes under a union contract. The shoes are not safety shoes. If the shoes are not safety shoes and are adaptable for general wear, the reimbursements are included as wages to the employees even if the employer is required to make the payment.
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