10 Weird but Legitimate Tax Deductions
Posted Monday, Mar 18, 2013 by
We’re quickly coming up on the April 15th tax filing deadline. If you itemize, you’re no doubt looking for every legitimate deduction you can find to minimize your debt to the IRS. We all know about home mortgage interest and businesses expenses. But the thousands of pages of tax code also offer some, shall we say, unusual write-offs to which you may be entitled.
Here are 10 strange but legal tax deductions that can lower your tax bill:
1. Music lessons as orthodontia. In the early 1960s, an orthodontist successfully argued that playing the clarinet could help cure an overbite. Since 1962, it’s been legal to deduct the cost of clarinet lessons for medical purposes.
2. Your backyard swimming. Swimming pools can be a real money suck, but you can deduct part of one’s cost and maintenance if you can show swimming is being used for physical therapy.
3. Your defense attorney. The bad news: If you rob a bank, you’re legally obligated to pay income tax on the money you stole. The good news: If you get caught, you can legitimately deduct the cost of your legal defense.
4. Fraud restitution. If bank robbery is a little too risky for you, you might try fraud. In the event you’re caught and you voluntarily pay restitution to your victims, you may be able to deduct these payments from your income taxes.
5. Your private plane. If you have a business or property that’s more than a few hours’ drive away, you may be able to deduct that part of a private plane’s cost, fuel and maintenance that’s directly related to the management of that business or property. Fly it to Aruba? Probably not tax deductible.
6. Body oil. If you’re a professional bodybuilder, you can usually deduct the cost of the oil your need to make your bulging biceps shine in the spotlight.
7. Organic food. In some cases, the cost difference between organic food and similar commercial food has been allowed as a medical expense.
8. Caribbean vacations. The Caribbean is a great place to hold a “business conference,” as all related expenses, including transportation, hotel and food, can often be tax deductible. Islands to which the IRS allows “business travel” without further explanation include Barbados, Bermuda, Costa Rica, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago. If you’re on the West Coast and prefer traveling west, Hawaii qualifies, too.
9. Boob jobs. If you make a living as an actress, model or stripper, breast augmentation and other cosmetic surgery may be tax deductible as a business expense. (If you’re a stripper, be sure to declare the sum value of all those dollars bills.)
10. Ostriches. If you live in St. Tammany Parish, La., you’re allowed to depreciate the purchase price of your ostrich as long as the bird is used for breeding purposes. (As opposed to…?)
Get Your Accounting Degree from Everest University Online
Tax preparation is one of the many specialties you can pursue with an accounting degree. And you can earn an Accounting associate degree or bachelor’s degree from Everest University Online, a division of Everest University. Convenient and comprehensive, Everest’s online accounting degree programs are designed for people who have jobs or other obligations that make going to a traditional brick-and-mortar school difficult. You can take your online accounting classes during evenings, on weekends, or whenever else it’s convenient. Proceed at your own pace. Learn by doing through Everest’s hands-on educational approach.
After graduation, you can get additional support from Everest’s Career Services professionals. They can help you with everything from resume writing to setting up interviews with local employers.
Financial aid is available for those who qualify.