January 20, 2021 by Lisa Brammer
Tax season is here once again. While we wait for our W2s to come in, we are all thinking about how many deductions we can take so we can keep as much of our hard earned money as we can. But after reading some articles about tax write-offs I can tell you, without hesitation, I am on the conservative end of the deduction spectrum. Believe me, on the other end there are others who will boldly right off things most of us wouldn’t dream of deducting.
As you might have already guessed, most of the time the IRS will deny these deductions faster than you can say, “Don’t make me laugh.” But thanks to the tenacity of these people—and their day in court—here are a few of the cases they’ve won.
A cat-lady in California who devoted a lot of her free time taking care of feral cats—often 70-80 at a time!—tried to deduct the money she spent on food and vet bills for these cats from her taxes as a charitable donation. The IRS kicked it back, saying it was a personal expense since she wasn’t donating to a 501(c)(3) charity. She fought back and won. Tax Court said she was entitled to most of the whopping $12,000 deduction she originally claimed.
Another person was also able to deduct the cost of cat food from their taxes, but for an entirely different reason. The cat food was deemed a bonafide business expense after the owner of a junkyard convinced Tax Court the cat food attracted stray cats that kept the rodent population on his property in check. How creative and effective?!
Did you hear about the stripper back in 1994 who tried to write off the cost of her breast implants as a business expense? IRS said no. But the judge in Tax Court ruled in her favor by categorizing her implants as a stage prop, making them a legitimate work expense.
There have also been instances where people have been able to deduct the cost of their swimming pools (including the cost of chemicals to maintain them!) because of a health condition. Same goes with deducting the cost of some of those DNA tests like 23 and Me.
The list goes on, but my favorite is a gas station that gave customers free beer—like S&H Green Stamps of yesteryear—when they got a fill-up. Not only did their sales pick up, Tax Court said they could write off the cost of their beer as a business expense.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating for anyone to try and deduct any random expense they can think of, but if you give some serious thought to it, and don’t mind fighting with the IRS, you might want to give it a whirl. Maybe you’ll fare as well as the other envelope pushers I talked about. And the rest of us will be grateful to you and your pioneering spirit.
United Credit Service, Inc. is a full service, licensed revenue cycle management and debt collection agency that has been providing effective, customized one on one management and recovery solutions for our business partners in the Midwest since 1950. Visit our website at http://www.unitedcreditservice.com, call 877-723-2902, or check out our YouTube video.
image provided by: kenteegardin -cc