Anonymous - 7/30/2019 5:46 PM
Are you referring to deducting the expense of your dive year as a tax deduction? Then the answer is "possibly". If your search and recovery is a business, then your gear used may be tax deductible. Your mileage to and from the dive site would also be a deductible expense, as would your air fills and gear maintenance. But the first thing an auditor is gonna ask you is, "If you have a business searching and recovering, then why don’t you have any business income from searching and recovering?" If you’re not charging money to do it (taxable income) then it’s a hobby not a business.

My buddy, who dives and owns a construction company, deducts all his new dive gear every year. So he always has some new gadget to show off. His justification for the deduction is that he uses his scuba gear to "inspect and repair docks". In that sense it would be a legal tax deduction same as any tools I buy to use in my shop.

Before you just go and try that, remember that if you claim a business deduction, but don’t also claim some business income, then the IRS computer is gonna flag you and they’ll get suspicious. That’ll make you more likely for an audit. Most businesses have business income if they have business deductions.

My buddy does actually repair docks, but he’s cheating so far as deducting all his dive gear as a business expense. He just dives recreationally.

"It seems to me that only professional S&R divers are given certain tax benefits for using their own gear. " That’s the key word...professional. I can go to all the DEMA shows and deduct that as a business expense because I’m PSI certified and have a scuba business, and my PSI cert makes me a "professional". Sort of like having a certification to be a scuba instructor makes you a "professional". Without a EIN number or at least a business registration from your states Secretary of State, it’ll be hard to defend a business deduction for scuba gear if the IRS starts poking around.

The few pennies you’ll actually save from trying to use your scuba gear as a business deduction isn’t worth the hassle unless you have a legitimate business with a lot of deductions.