Taxing Times: Can I Deduct COVID-Related Expenses?

Masks and hand sanitizers typically can’t be written off for most people.
Posted at 12:16 PM, Feb 19, 2021

Not everyone had the benefit of remote work in the midst of the pandemic. Plenty of workers spent money on coronavirus-protecting gear for their commute to the office. 

I’m not an expert, but we talked to lots of them, and asked: can workers write off expenses that protected them from getting sick? 

"You're not able to take it as a deduction," said Kemberley Washington, tax analyst at Forbes Advisor.

Turns out items, like masks and hand sanitizer, can’t be written off unless you’re self-employed — or a teacher. 

"One provision under the second coronavirus relief package allows teachers to include protective equipment in their deduction for teachers education deduction," said Lisa Greene-Lewis, CPA and tax expert at TurboTax. 

While the rest of the workforce can’t deduct those items, workers might be able to deduct COVID-19 tests. 

"You may be able to if you incurred expenses, medical expenses related to the pandemic. You can deduct those as medical expenses if you itemize and you meet the threshold," said Nathan Rigney, principal tax research analyst at H&R Block. 

For more information on the 2020 tax season, visit