Legend has it that an exotic dancer was once allowed to deduct the cost of ‘enhancements’ as a business expense. That one may just be a popular tax-geek myth — but there are plenty of verified, documented cases of weird and wonderful tax deductions our fellow Americans have attempted to claim.
Some are understandable (like bath oil for dry skin), some are hilarious, and many were denied — but a few were actually allowed by the IRS. Let’s get right to ‘em, shall we?
5 Strange Allowed Tax Deductions
1. Boarding school. Travel, room & board were allowed as medical expenses for sending a young child with respiratory problems to a boarding school in Arizona. Stringham, L. Keever, (1949) 12 TC 580
2. Cat food. The IRS allowed cat food as a business expense because it was used to attract wild cats to deter snakes from a scrap yard. Samuel T. Seawright, Et Ux., (2001) 117 TC No. 24
3. Organic food. In one case, the difference between the cost of chemically uncontaminated food and regular chemically-treated food was allowed as a medical deduction. Randolph, Theron, (1976) 67 TC 481
4. Clarinet lessons. The cost of a clarinet and clarinet lessons were both allowed as medical deductions to help a child’s overbite. Rev. Rul. 62-210
5. Posing oil. A professional bodybuilder was allowed a business deduction for “ProTan Muscle Juice Professional Posing Oil.” Note: The same taxpayer was denied deductions for his buffalo meat and vitamin shakes. Wheir v. Comm. (T.C. Summ. Op. 2004-117)
The denial pile, as you might imagine, is a bit more creative. We’ve highlighted a few of our favorites below.
Our Favorite Bizarre Denied Tax Deductions
I changed my password to "incorrect" so whenever I forget it when I try to logon, the computer will say, "Your password is incorrect."
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