Are Manicures & Hair styling business deductions?

Letter written February 18, 2009

I am writing to you in regards to a recent question we have been hearing concerning a business write-off. “Is it possible to deduct the professional cost associated with having your hair and nails professionally done as a business expense?”

My office has thoroughly researched this topic.  I have contacted other accountants, and have spoke to a local IRS office auditor (Dayton, OH) in regards to this deduction.  Here is the condensed version of the answer:  If Mary Kay tells you to wear hair (or nails) in a specific way then it may be a viable deduction.  But to the best of my office’s knowledge of almost 30 years of working with Mary Kay Consultants, Directors and Nationals, there is nothing we are aware of to indicate that Mary Kay Corporation dictates ANY dress code.

I realize that you would love to write this off as a deduction, but if you are able to write off hair and nails then maybe you should consider trying to deduct your dog for security purposes. You may find that taking your dog as a business deduction crazy, but a major multi-level business (structured like Mary Kay) in the eighties faltered badly due to many IRS audits of their consultants by taking such a silly tax deductions.

It has been suggested that this topic has been won during an IRS audit.  However, one or even two IRS audit results do not dictate IRS codes and regulations, nor can it/they be used as a position in another audit.  The question that could be asked is: “Were the hair and nail deductions even a category in question during the audit?”

Remember, you, as the taxpayer, are responsible for your return even if you have a paid preparer. Do you really want to open yourself up to an increased chance of an audit, and have to deal with the IRS on a one to one basis?

If you still have doubts or questions of what I know to be correct, please contact the IRS and see what they suggest (800) 829-1040

Click here to view our one page summary overview of the IRS's ruled and regulations concerning this subject

The IRS Rules and Regulations concerning Business Expenses - Entertainment Tax Tips

Please feel free to pass this along to everyone in your unit and any other Mary Kay Directors or Consultants.

If you can provide any other clarification or documentation on this subject, please feel free to contact us.

Jody Tiernan EA
Tiernan & Associates LLC
Phone 937-832-0271
Fax      937-832-1607

Last Modified: 12/15/2014