Can You Write Off A Thong As A Tax Expense?


Now I read this story and initially brushed it off.  I mean c’mon…strippers suing for clothes to actually take off?  It just sounds silly, doesn’t it?

But then I remembered four previous jobs where I was required to either wear a uniform (working in a restaurant and in a bar) or dress in a particular way (working in a men’s clothing store or a rental car company).  Clothing..specifically how I was dressed…was a very important part of each job.  I was either provided a uniform or given a discount on the purchase of new clothes in order to match the dress-code expectations of my employer.

However, I’m also currently working in a job that has a “business casual” dress code.  They don’t pay for my clothes or provide me with a uniform…it’s just expected that I have these items already to wear to work.

So now I’m wondering about the circumstances.

If these women are going from club to club to club, then I would expect that they would receive accommodations of some sort in addition to their payment or salary.  But I would also assume that they would be “independent contractors” and, as such, would already have the required items to help them perform their job.

In this case, the women are considered “independent contractors” even though they’re gainfully employed at one location: the Penthouse Executive Club in New York City.  Basically, the US district court judge who oversaw this granted these women conditional class action certification…which means other women who work for other Penthouse clubs can also join this lawsuit.

Here are the issues:

  • the women must pay for their own uniforms (i.e. thongs)
  • the employer didn’t pay minimum wage or overtime and confiscated part of tips
  • the employer charged dancers a house fee for dance shifts
  • the employer deducted a 20 percent premium when dancers exchange the house tokens, which some customers used for tips, for cash.

I was initially under the assumption that these women were full-time employees of the club.  My thinking is that in that particular case, since wardrobe is so vitally important to how they perform their duties (seriously…it’s not like they’re removing granny panties out there).  But even if the clubs consider them “independent contractors”, if they’re booked for extended periods of time I suppose that I can understand the women wanting their employer to foot the bill.

I’m no lawyer (that’s RE‘s territory), but I would think that these clubs would be able to purchase “X dollars” worth of costumes for their employees (a monthly clothing allowance, perhaps?) and be able to write it off as a tax business expense at the end of the year.

I dunno…I just found this to be a very different and interesting story.  And I’m probably alone in thinking this is interesting, but that’s okay.  I just feel that everybody should have rights in their workplace, even if their workplace requires them to be naked at the end of the night.


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