Unfortunately, your Boyfriend would have to itemize in order to claim this deduction for tools. These expenses can be deducted as part of the employee business expenses that are reported on Form 2106 on line 4.
These expenses are then carried over to Schedule A Line 26 and are subjected to the 2% Adjusted Gross Income Limitation. Thus, if your Boyfriend's W-2 income is say $50,000, the small tool expense of $5,000 must be reduced by 2% of $50,000 or $1,000. Thus, only $4,000 ($5,000 less $1,000 )can be deducted on Schedule A.
Also, remember that State and Local income taxes are deductable on Schedule A along with any Charitable Contributions made in 2008. These amounts might possibly be more than $5,450 which is the amount of the current Standard Deduction (the alternative to itemizing) for tax year 2008!