I doubt I can write it off, but I just figured I'd check anyway. What if I took a class in it and needed the software to take the class?

  • Are you self-employed, or a regular employee? Commented Aug 31, 2010 at 19:10
  • @Chris Presently I'm unemployed. I'd like to be employed however, and I think learning .NET might help with that.
    – leeand00
    Commented Sep 1, 2010 at 1:01
  • 3
    @leeand00 - make sure you learn C# not VB. C# is much more marketable.
    – Jack
    Commented Sep 3, 2010 at 16:51

3 Answers 3


I am by no means a tax professional, which is who you should probably ask, but from I understand about tax law: - If it is for a class or some other form of formal education, then yes, it can be written off. - If you just teaching yourself a new skill, then no, it can't be written off.

but like Bryan Denny said, if you are just learning, you can get the express edition for free.

  • 1
    +1 for mentioning express edition. Also see microsoft.com/express - you don't even need DreamSpark verification, etc. The express edition is free for everyone. Commented Oct 25, 2011 at 8:44
  • 1
    As an update starting with vs 2013 there is a community edition which has more features than express.
    – Andy
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 0:30

I don't know about taxes on this issue, but you might be able to save some money!

Are you a student? Checkout the DreamSpark program from Microsoft and get it for free here. Additionally, your school might have a MSDN license or be able to get you a copy for cheaper than retail.

Alternatively, there is also the free express edition if you don't need the features of the professional edition.


If you are currently employed as a programmer or similar job, you may be able to deduct the cost of Visual Studio, if it is part of a professional development program and exceeds 2% of your income.

  • What does the 2% mean? 2% of my yearly income?
    – leeand00
    Commented Sep 7, 2010 at 3:24
  • Yes 2% annual income. You need to be very careful about this and talk to a tax professional or consult a tax guide. The IRS is pretty aggressive at disallowing these sorts of deductions. Commented Sep 7, 2010 at 16:46

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