It’s Your Captain Speaking: What Can Flight Crews Deduct?

August 19, 2014
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The IRS offers several tax deductions for pilots and flight crew members.

The IRS offers several tax deductions for pilots and flight crew members.

Pilots and flight crew members spend their days and nights in the sky to make our trips as convenient and comfortable as possible. But even though they are 35,000 feet in the air, the IRS and Uncle Sam still keep them in mind when it comes to tax-saving opportunities. In honor of National Aviation Day, let’s explore some of the tax deductions for pilots and flight crew members:

Work Clothing/Uniform Expenses

In general, the expenses related to pilot and flight crew member uniforms are fully tax deductible. According to the IRS, these articles of clothing can be written off if an employer requires an employee to wear one. Also, these uniforms cannot be considered adequate or adaptable to be worn as street-wear. Most uniforms are emblazoned with an airline’s logo, and these types of clothing are not classified as appropriate for street-wear. Keep in mind that both the initial purchase and ongoing upkeep of airline uniforms are deductible expenses.

Education & Training Costs

Pilots and flight crew members can write off training and education expenses as a tax deduction as well. There are two main stipulations on this. Education must be required by an employer for you to maintain your current position in the company and keep your pay rate. Such training can also be done in order to maintain or improve a flight crew member’s skill set to qualify for the write-off. Expenses related to courses that pilots and flight attendants take to meet minimum job requirements or those that qualify you for a new type of trade cannot be deducted.

Travel Costs

There are several expenses airline pilots and crew members are allowed to deduct when filing their taxes that are associated with work-related travel. Costs incurred when pilots and flight crew travel out of town and overnight for either work or continuing education are deductible. These costs include transportation, meals, hotels, tips and other miscellaneous expenses. In addition, vehicle-related expenses for use of a personal vehicle can be written off if they are for travel between business locations or daily transportation costs from your home to a temporary place of work. The amount that is deductible depends on the number of business miles driven.

Fees & Dues

Initial membership fees paid upfront to certain professional societies, organizations, or social clubs related to the airline industry are not deductible. However, dues paid to these groups on a regular basis are often considered a write-off. Dues paid to unions for both initial membership and on an ongoing basis are typically deductible as well.

Remember that in almost all professions, any expenses your employer reimburses you for are not tax deductible. You may be able to claim the ones you are not paid back for as unreimbursed employee expenses.

1-800Accountant is at your beck and call for all of your tax and accounting needs, no matter what industry you are in. Whether you’re looking for tax deductions for pilots, farmers, chefs, or cab drivers, we are here to assist you. Call 1-800-222-6868 or visit www.1-800Accountant for details on specific services.

Photo credit: The photograph of the airplane included in this blog post is used with permission via the Creative Commons license through Flickr.

This post is to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, business, or tax advice. Each person should consult his or her own attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in this post. 1-800Accountant assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.