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Can you write off PPE gear this tax season? Experts say no

Be prepared for a unique tax season
Posted at 5:25 AM, Mar 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-01 14:13:04-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — Tax season is upon us and this time around a few extra things you should consider before filing.

Not everyone had the benefit of remote working in the midst of the pandemic. Plenty of workers spent money on coronavirus-protecting gear, just so they could work safely at the office.

Tax experts say there's one question they've been getting a lot from filers: Can workers write off expenses that protected them from getting sick? Tax analysts say the answer is no, you're not able to use that as a deduction.

Turns out items, like masks and hand sanitizer, can't be written off unless you're self-employed — or a teacher.
There is one one provision under the second Coronavirus Relief Package, that allows teachers to include protective equipment in their deduction, but the rest of the workforce can't deduct those items. One expert says workers might be able to deduct COVID-19 tests.

"You may be able to if you incurred expenses, medical expenses related to the pandemic," said Nathan Rigney, in an interview with our affiliate Newsy. Rigney is a Principal Tax Research Analyst for H & R Block. "You can deduct those as medical expenses if you itemize and you meet the threshold," he said.

The IRS says since tax season began on February 12th, in just one week the agency got 35 million tax returns. Experts say this points to the urgency and financial troubles many people are facing during this pandemic. Remember, the tax deadline is April 15th for the state of Colorado.

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