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I met with them today and was told I'm being given a 1099 form.

I got a Work-From-Home job doing programming for a science based non-profit. There's been no talk of providing me with a company laptop or anything of the sort, and I start the job on Monday.

I was thinking of buying a laptop to use just for this job because my current laptop is in use for college courses, and having to watch/download video lectures and other materials is making my current machine run slowly. Was curious if buying a laptop to use, just for this job, could be used as a tax deduction in the US. Not planning to spend more than $450 USD.

  • Are you going to be paid as an independent contractor with a 1099, or as an employee with a W2? – user662852 Sep 22 at 16:41
  • Update - I met with them today and was told I'm being given a 1099 form. Does this mean that I could claim the laptop as a deduction? – Julie S Sep 25 at 23:39
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If you are working as an independent contractor then this is an expense you can record on Schedule C offsetting your self employment income.

If you are working as an employee, this kind of expense used to be available as a "miscellaneous expense subject to the 2% floor" (which meant first, you elect to do itemized expenses instead of taking the standard deduction, and second, the total of the miscellaneous expenses would have to exceed 2% of your gross income before being deducted, so there are circumstances where it could reduce your taxes, but there's a lot upstream conditions working against it). However this category is restricted after 2019 to 4 specific employee types

Publication 529 - Main Contents

Deductions for Unreimbursed Employee Expenses

You can no longer claim any miscellaneous itemized deductions that are subject to the 2% of adjusted gross income limitation, including unreimbursed employee expenses. However, you may be able to deduct certain unreimbursed employee business expenses if you fall into one of the following categories of employment listed under Unreimbursed Employee Expenses next, or are an eligible educator as defined under Educator Expenses , later.

  • Armed Forces reservists.
  • Qualified performing artists.
  • Fee-basis state or local government officials.
  • Employees with impairment-related work expenses.
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  • Hi - thanks for your response. I am an employee and not an independant contractor. From that standpoint - sounds like I can't claim the laptop as a deduction then, correct? – Julie S Sep 22 at 21:07
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    The restriction actually is for 2018 to 2025, like many others enacted in TCJA'17. Theoretically this deduction will again be available in 2026 -- unless Congress changes the law before then, and Congress frequently changes the tax law. – dave_thompson_085 Sep 23 at 5:47
  • Update - I met with them today and was told I'm being given a 1099 form. Does this mean that I could claim the laptop as a deduction? – Julie S Sep 25 at 23:19
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If you are self employed (1099)

In short yes,

Assume you're a US person living and 1099 working in the US.

  1. You buy a laptop (100 to a few thousand bucks)

  2. Next year, when you use taxAct or whatever to fill in your tax return as a self-employed person there is (essentially) a slot where you say "I paid $400 for a laptop" and that is a deduction.

In short, there used to be some annoying crap where you had to (in short) deduct it over some years but (in short) for the coming tax return in 2021, you get to deduct the whole amount and you're done.

Do note that...

There's been no talk of providing me w/a company laptop

Email them with this language: "Howdy, how will you be supplying me a laptop to use for the project?"

See what they say.

In short, to repeat:

Was curious if buying a laptop to use, just for this job, could be used as a tax deduction in the US.

Yes. If you are self employed (1099).

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  • Yes if the OP is 1099. I believe unreimbursed employee expenses (for W2 employees) ended up in the "miscellaneous deductions subject to 2% floor" before 2019, but after 2019, are only permitted for 4 specific employee types: irs.gov/publications/p529 – user662852 Sep 22 at 16:45
  • It's unclear if the OP is an independent contractor or employee. Your bullet 2 does say "self employed" but that condition should be pulled out and put at the top not buried in the detail to remain correct. – user662852 Sep 22 at 16:46
  • @user662852 - you're completely correct. I live in a self-employed world and assumed :) – Fattie Sep 22 at 16:48
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    cheers @JulieS- NO, you can not. (I urge you to tell them they have to supply one.) – Fattie Sep 22 at 22:52
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    CORRECT - you are self-employed – Fattie Sep 26 at 12:28

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