I work in a state law enforcement job that requires certification in use of a firearm, however we are not given one for training and it is expected/heavily recommended to purchase our own personal firearm for training to complete an annual recertification to maintain employment. It has been explained that I can deduct this purchase from my taxes. Is this true? If so, are there limits to this action? Is only a portion returned of the purchase amount? What is required for this?
If you are a W-2 employee then your job-related expenses are not deductible on your federal return as of the new tax laws that went into effect for 2018 and beyond.
It has been explained that I can deduct this purchase from my taxes. Is this true?
No. It is false. Beginning with the 2018 tax year, W-2 work related expenses are no longer deductible with only four exceptions. Based on the information you have provided you do not qualify for or fall under any of the exceptions.
This is covered in IRS Publication 529 on page 2 at https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p529.pdf To wit:
You can no longer claim a deduction for unreimbursed employee expenses unless you fall into one of the following categories of employment, or have certain qualified educator expenses.
•Armed Forces reservists.
•Qualified performing artists.
•Fee-basis state or local government officials.
•Employees with impairment-related work expenses.
Unreimbursed employee expenses for individuals in these categories of employment are deducted as adjustments to gross income. Qualified employees listed in one of the categories above must complete Form 2106 to take the deduction. Certain qualified educator expenses are also deducted as an adjustment to gross income but you are not required to complete Form 2106.
It was true prior to 2018. Starting in tax year 2018, you can no longer deduct employee expenses, including mileage and tools of the trade.
Even in previous years, the deduction was limited to being an itemized deduction, subject to the 2% of AGI threshold. It was unlikely you would have even been able to deduct in the "old days".