Unusual Tax Deductions

They may sound wacky but here are some tax deductions that the IRS allowed.

The following tax deductions may sound wacky, but they were all upheld by the IRS or the courts.

1. Cat Food

A married couple who owned a junkyard were allowed to deduct as a business expense the cost of pet food they left out at night to attract feral cats. Reason: The cats helped eliminate snakes and rats on their property, making it safer for customers.

2. Body Oil

A professional bodybuilder was allowed to deduct as a business expense the cost of body oil he used to make his muscles glisten in the lights during bodybuilding competitions.

3. Breast Augmentation

A stripper was allowed to deduct the cost of obtaining breast implants that increased her chest size to 56-FF. The tax court reasoned that the enormous implants were the same as stage props. However, the stripper was required to depreciate the implants, rather than deduct the entire cost in a single year, because they had a useful life over one year.

4. Clarinet Orthodontics

A girl's dentist advised her to take clarinet lessons to help cure her overbite. The lessons were a deductible medical expense.

5. Free Beer Along with Gas

A service station owner was allowed to deduct as an advertising expense the cost of giving his customers free beer.

6. Whaling Expenses

Native Alaskan whaling captains who hunt bowhead whales for subsistence pursuant to the management plan of the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission, may take a special charitable deduction of up to $10,000 for the cost of acquiring and maintaining their whale boats and provisions for their crews.

7. Organic Food

A man who was allergic to pesticides was allowed to deduct as a medical expense the difference between the cost of chemically uncontaminated food he purchased from health food stores and regular chemically-treated food. 

8. Ostrich Depreciation

Farmers are allowed to depreciate the cost of livestock such as cows, pigs, sheep, and goats. The IRS also allowed a Louisiana ostrich farmer to depreciate the cost of an ostrich.

9. Babysitting Fees

A woman who paid a babysitter to take care of her children so she could leave her house to do volunteer work for charity was allowed to deduct the expense as a charitable contribution.

April 2013

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