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Can you Claim Dry Cleaning, clothing, and grooming expenses in your tax return?

A lot of self-employed taxpayers, especially real estate agents, and Uber drivers who need to look presentable in front of their customers, may ask if they can claim expenses such as dry cleaning, clothing, and other grooming expenses as they directly relate to their business.

Generally speaking, the CRA considers these as personal expenses. Even if you have claimed them in the past and got away with it because your returns never got reviewed, you shouldn't claim them going forward as you will be handed a big tax bill if you are ever reviewed and all these expenses are added back to your income.

The following conditions need to be met if you want to claim expenses related to your employment/income:

  1. You are required to pay for the expenses as part of the contract (usually self-employed people)

  2. You don't receive a special allowance to get reimbursed for that expense

For example, you may need a separate work phone for your job. If the employer provides a phone allowance on top of your regular pay you are not allowed to claim the expense. However, if they don't you may be eligible to claim it as an expense.

Other common expenses you can't generally claim are commuting to and from work, your personal clothing, grooming kits, dry cleaning, etc.

Usually, the employer will provide form T2200 that will specify any expenses that the employee can claim in their tax return. Note that only the employer can issue form T2200, not the accountant, cra, or taxpayer.

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