Monday, May 3, 2010

clothing payment

In environmental consulting, most of the gear is paid for by the company: the equipment, the supplies, the use of a vehicle for fieldwork (or reimbursement for using your own - my least favorite option). The use of specific safety gear is also included, such as steel-toe boots.

When it comes to more personal stuff, however, who pays for it? I realize that boots are about as personal as you can get (nobody wants to share your nasty, broken in boots, whereas jackets are more interchangeable), but they're covered by regulations. But what about other clothing?

Raingear: in the various places I've worked, I have not actually requested a rain jacket/pants etc. But I know coworkers who requested (and got) raingear. Was I just a chump for buying my own stuff?

There are 2 advantages to buying stuff on your own: first, you can get what you actually want, rather than, say, using the common drilling company method of buying everybody $6 rain suits that rip the day you open them (if not the hour). Second, if you buy the stuff on your own, you can use it for non-work related activities and not get hounded by management to return it on weekends and such (true story).

General field clothing: I don't know anyone who has tried to expense clothing. However, after an unfortunate project involving corrosive chemicals and the destruction of two outfits (significantly more than little acid spots), I was seriously tempted to charge my employer the replacement cost of my $75, hard-won field pants.


C W Magee said...

In Australia, Clothing and other equipment that meets official safety standards is a professional tax deduction. So even though you buy your own, most of it comes back at tax time, so long as you bought proper gear. It's a good system. While I just bought really cheap cloths on the understanding that they wouldn't last the season, I claimed my perscription safety glasses and steecaps that way.

Bolaji said...

Great idea. I'd like to know more.

C W Magee said...

There isn't much to it; you save your receipts and list the items as deductions on your tax form

BrownsBay said...

I bought my rain gear years ago while we spent months outside watching dirty dirt move at the REI Flagship store. We all expensed it to the project. I still have that rain gear, well made Columbia. Work clothes? That's a stretch plus there are personal preferences. Mine is a long-sleeved Dickies work shirt and baggie convertible pants with lots of big pockets. Jeans, no, too tight and a dearth of pockets. Find the right project and expense away.

Anonymous said...

A couple of the companies I've worked for gave a certain amount of clothing/personal gear allowance - one company offered about $1000, if I remember correctly?

I run my own consultancy anyway, so any additional field gear is a tax write-off.