Are conferences a tax-deductable work expense?

If there is a conference that I attend for professional development, can I take it as a work expense deduction? It is not required but certainly encouraged by my company and is 100% professional in terms of end my field, networking for my company, attending classes/symposia, etc.

Sure. I take deductions for attention science fiction conventions. Someone once told me that was probably more legitimate than many other deductions.

But I’m using a Schedule C. I’m not sure how it works for an employee. It’s a legitimate expense, though.

Despite the previous reply, the answer is probably not. In years 2108 and after, you can’t. For prior years they could be if they exceeded 2% of AGI. This is one of the provisions that is only temporary. Under current lay you can again come 2026.

Schedule C deductions are still allowed, because, you know, business.

In case it’s not obvious, that was supposed to be 2018, not 2108.

The fact that these unreimbursed employee expenses are not deductible for the next so many years is probably going to be a source of extreme rage for a very small percent of people. The same for not being able to deduct any income-producing expense if it’s not associated with a business, like legal and investment fees. It’s really quite bad law, but deductions are a matter of legislative grace, as the courts say.

The best way around it is of course to get it reimbursed, at least partially. If you’re in the 25% bracket, if you get 25% of it reimbursed you’re where you would be before if it was all deductible. The fact that it was very rarely deductible unless you had plenty of other misc expenses means it’s really a windfall. Still, if your company is suggesting that you do this professional development, you should suggest to them that they make it more worth their employees’ time and money if the company pitched in some of the cost. All of my required CPA continuing education is paid for by my firm, and I get paid for my time to do it. (Obviously, I don’t do it during the busy season.)

Cite, in case you are unaware of the new law that these guys are alluding to.

That’s true. But after the 2% AGI limit and the requirement to itemize to claim, a lot of people couldn’t claim before.

ISTM that it would be more advantageous to your finances to have your employer pick up the whole tab (including travel, accommodations, and per diem) in the first place, instead of just getting a percentage of it reduced from your taxable income.

Ancillary question: If the employer DOES pick up the tab, does the employer still get to write THAT off?

Yes, right.

Yes, of course. Big Corps got tax cuts, not increases.