Are DUI Driving Classes Considered a Tax Deductible Expense?

A person charged with a DUI (Driving under the influence) offense can anticipate paying for a number of expenses. These expenses may include the cost of legal representation; court fees, fines and penalties; traffic fines; and, if court ordered, the cost of DUI driving classes. Every state has a set of laws regarding DUI offenses that may involve additional fees or taxes associated with these charges. Whether a tax paid in relationship to a DUI offense can be considered a tax deductible expense would require the advice of a tax professional. Each state sets the cost for DUI driving classes and the program must be paid for and completed before an offender can apply for a license reinstatement.

As a general rule, fees, fines and penalties paid to a municipality are not considered to be tax deductions. There are IRS (Internal Revenue Service) publications and Tax Codes that govern what is or is not a tax deduction. The IRS does allow individuals to deduct certain legal fees, but those fees are related to someone’s ability to earn or collect taxable income. The deductible fees may also include tax advice provided by a tax professional.

An individual charged with a DUI offense can seek an exception to deduct the cost of legal fees and driving classes if the person believes that the charges were directly connected with his or her trade or business. There are several IRCs (Internal Revenue Codes) that use reasonable means tests called origin-of-the-claims doctrine to determine if an individual is permitted to deduct the cost of DUI driving classes. The doctrine is complex, has many rulings and is best interpreted by a tax professional. Additional considerations given in tax rulings related to DUI deductible expenses involve an individual’s level of willful or gross negligence connected with the offense. This is another area where an individual can benefit from the advice of a tax professional.

A DUI charge can potentially hamper the ability of an individual whose income is derived from a driving profession. Professional drivers are required to have a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) and can lose their employment if convicted of traffic violations, especially a DUI or DWI (Driving while intoxicated) charge. A professional driver charged with a DUI violation while off duty may not automatically lose employment, but if the violation was committed while working the driver faces the real risk of being dismissed. A professional driver may seek an exception to deduct any fees paid to defend himself or herself against criminal charges or for the ability to keep a job. Whether any of these fees paid, including the cost of driving classes, can be considered a tax deduction, may require the services of a tax professional.

DUI charges are serious and the associated expenses can be costly. A tax professional may be the best avenue available to learn if any of the expenses, especially those connected with court ordered driving education, can be tax deductible.