Now that tax time has come and gone (you knew that, right?!) there’s a bit of freedom in the air. We hope you’re feeling good and even expecting money back. And while it is too late to consider these bizarre tax deductions this year, here are a few weird ones to file away for next year! (Or not.)
While a short stay in the hospital seems like a normal deduction, there are a few that are legitimately strange. As part of a treatment for a painful overbite, a doctor recommended that a patient begin playing the clarinet. This required purchase of an instrument, and then lessons, which the patient was able to write off because it was recommended by a doctor. Another patient was told to exercise to assist in treating his emphysema. He liked to swim but didn’t want to join an athletic club, so he installed his own pool. Because exercise was recommended to him by a doctor, the IRS approved the cost of the pool, the chemicals, the cost of heating the pool, and pool insurance as part of his deduction.
Perhaps you’ve heard that you can deduct expenses related to your work, but the IRS is willing to stretch it even further than you think. Dinah Shore, a celebrity, claimed a few expensive dresses on her tax return and defended her decision to the IRS (who questioned it) by noting that they were purchased only for business and could not be used for personal reasons. She reasoned that the dresses were so tight that she could never sit down in them, thus making them a work related expense. The IRS allowed it.
If you’ve got a pet that is essential to your business, you can deduct costs related to it. This doesn’t mean that the friendly bookstore cat gets a free ride—but it can mean the junkyard dog is a deduction. One couple argued that a junkyard cat was essential because it kept away snakes and rats, making the place safer for customers. The IRS didn’t agree, but they ended up winning in tax court.
Most people don’t think about the depreciation of living things, but they should! Livestock (of all kinds) depreciate and can be used as write-offs. Sure, they aren’t computers or printers, but they are very necessary to running a farm.
You can also write off body oil if you’re a body builder, plastic surgery if you work in an industry that requires certain ahem body parts, and anything else ordinary and necessary to your profession.