Weird, Wonderful–and Unsuccessful–Tax Deductions

Tummy tucks and swimming pools, manicures and dog food: a CPA survey unearthed some eye-popping attempted tax deductions.

With changing tax laws on both a state and national level, taxes have grown more complex. So have the reasons for attempting to take write-offs for tax year 2012. The Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants surveyed its 9,400 CPA members for some of the wackier attempts and came up with:

  • A ballerina tried to deduct the cost of a tummy tuck.
  • One woman tried to write off Botox expenses as an “image enhancement” expense.
  • A pianist tried to claim manicures as a business expense.
  • A farmer tried to claim food and veterinary expenses for his toy poodle as a farm-building “guard dog.”
  • One woman tried to deduct her gambling losses as a charity donation.
  • Many reasons for deducting the cost of a swimming pool were offered by various clients. (One filer failed to realize that he needed to actually have children and dependents in order to claim them.)
  • One filer tried to deduct tanning-bed expenses.
  • One woman hoped to add a deduction by writing off the cost of Zumba exercise classes.

“Creativity is rewarded in many parts of society—but not by the IRS,” noted Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA) Chair Barbara Steinhauser.