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Tales of creative tax deductions (warning: results not typical)

Earlier this month, we wrote about some of the weirder sources of income that all of us are technically supposed to report to the IRS. Naturally, it is frustrating to learn that your tax liabilities could be even higher than they already are (even if most of the aforementioned reporting requirements cannot really be enforced).

To bring a little levity to your tax season, we'll focus today's post on some of the more creative tax deductions that Americans have been able to claim in recent years. Some of the deductions were approved by the IRS, while most were disputed and later won in Tax Court.

These odd stories were recently shared in an article on the Forbes website. Highlights include:

  • An exotic dancer who was eventually able to deduct the costs of cosmetic surgery and claim her breast implants as depreciable assets
  • A professional bodybuilder who was able to deduct the costs of body oil (to make his muscles glisten), presumably as a business expense
  • A man who regularly met clients at his home office was able to deduct some home maintenance costs, including landscaping, lawn care and repairs to his driveway
  • A woman who hired a babysitter so she could do charitable volunteer work was able to deduct childcare expenses as charitable contributions (despite an IRS publication specifically prohibiting this scenario)
  • A couple who ran a junkyard used wild cats to get rid of snakes and rats on the property (improving safety for customers) and was able to deduct the cost of cat food as a business expense

It should be noted that while ultimately successful, none of these taxpayers had an easy time getting these odd deductions approved. Most had to go to court. Therefore, you probably shouldn't expect similar results if you are considering your own creative ways to reduce your taxes.

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