It’s tax time and as we all know, some of the funniest stories to read are the stories that are true. People have a large capacity for doing strange things. I thought I would include a list I found on legalzoom of a few of the more odd tax write offs out there.
Although a simple nose job or tummy tuck is more than likely not deductible, certain types of cosmetic surgery may be a legitimate tax write-off if you can show that it is a necessity for your job. This was proven in the case of exotic dancer Cynthia Hess (a.k.a. “Chesty Love”), who sued the IRS in order to take a $2,088 tax deduction for her breast augmentation that left her with a size 56FF chest. Hess was allowed to take the tax write-off in that her 20 pound breasts were used for the purposes of making money at an Indiana strip club, and were essentially looked at as a “stage prop.”
Depreciation has been widely popular for cars, homes, and computers, but how about animals? This was an acceptable form of depreciation for an ostrich farmer from St. Tammany Parish, who depreciated his ostrich. It just so happens that you can depreciate livestock as long as they are used for breeding.
Although the IRS denied a professional body builder’s attempt to write off specialty foods and drinks, such as high-protein shakes and buffalo meat, the body builder was allowed to deduct “ProTan Muscle Juice Professional Posing Oil” as a business expense, which he applied on his body prior to pumping up backstage “for optimum effects.”
From travel expenses to animal boarding fees, the IRS has denied numerous attempts at writing off animal supplies. However, the tax court did allow a business to take a $300 business expense deduction for cat food that was used to attract wild cats, in order to prevent snakes and rats from the coming into the business’ scrap yard.
The IRS approved a parent’s write-off of her son’s clarinet lessons as a medical expense. The parent claimed that playing the instrument was correcting the child’s overbite and the IRS agreed.
And five that were good tries, but didn’t make the IRS cut:
Consulting fee for…arson?
After numerous failed attempts of trying to sell his business, a Pittsburgh furniture-store owner hired an arsonist to make the business “disappear.” The owner reported on his tax return the $500,000 he received from his insurance company for the fire. However, he also wrote off the $10,000 “consulting fee” he paid the arsonist. Not only did the owner get hit with $6,500 from the IRS in taxes, penalties and interest; the owner, along with the arsonist, also received a jail sentence.
Even though dancing is a great way to stay in shape, the IRS still denied a postal worker’s write-off of dancing lessons as a medical expense. The postal worker had claimed that the dancing was beneficial following surgery for varicose veins, but the court ruled against him.
A couple was denied their write-off a $2,500 mink coat as an ordinary business expense. Although the couple claimed the coat was needed for business engaged by public relations or advertising agents, the court denied the claim.
Believe it or not, there have been a few attempts to write-off dentures on one’s tax return. In one case, an actor tried to take a business deduction for dentures because he claimed they enabled him to “enunciate without a hiss.” In another attempt, a client for a Seattle CPA firm claimed his dentures as a deduction on his taxes because they fell into the toilet, which the client claimed was an “act-of-God casualty loss.”
Probably one of the weirdest attempted write-offs was received by a Manhattan CPA, who was approached by a man wishing to take a “depletion allowance” for sperm donations he had made throughout the year.