Strange Tax Deductions

Status: Tax Scams
With April 15th fast approaching, taxpayers are once again scheming to dream up all kinds of deductions they can take. has a list of some unusual ones (Thanks to Kathy for the link), such as:

• The guy who claimed his dog as a dependent
• The man who tried to claim a sperm donation as a 'depletion allowance'
• The furniture-store owner who hired an arsonist to burn his business down so that he could claim the insurance, and then deducted the $10,000 he paid the arsonist as a consulting fee.
• And the guy who tried to deduct dog food as a security expense (since, as he argued, his dog guarded his house)

In an article from last year, Buck Wolf of ABC News also listed some strange deductions such as body builders who can legally deduct baby oil, exotic dancers who can deduct the cost of their breast implants, and clarinet lessons which can be deducted as a health expense (if it helps you correct an overbite).

The strangest deduction I've ever claimed was for a stuffed jackalope. (Should I be admitting this where the IRS might read it?) My logic was that I was making money by researching hoaxes, so it was part of my research. Plus, I wanted the jackalope as a prop for when the New York Times came out to photograph me.


Posted on Tue Apr 04, 2006


Hey, you're a legitimate buisiness venture, one which has a great deal of experience and information concerning the critters, and your website *does* pop up when one googles jackalopes (actually how I found it).

I say you're good.
Posted by Robin Bobcat  on  Tue Apr 04, 2006  at  07:03 PM
My mother's cousin Patsy (my second cousin, I guess) claimed her dog as a dependent for several years and got away with it. She was pretty low-income so she probably just flew under the IRS' radar.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Tue Apr 04, 2006  at  07:10 PM
The most dubious tax "expense" I've seen is a guy who managed to claim $AUD20K as business losses, since someone stole his stock. His stock being a sizeable amount of cocaine...
Posted by Smerk  on  Tue Apr 04, 2006  at  07:14 PM
You really ought to be able to deduct your pet and it's expenses... feeding my little guy isnt cheap... nor are his veterinary bills.

I cant have kids due to medical problems.. so he is my kid... I should be able to claim him... :(

Especially since I still have to pay taxes to local schools that I will never make use of.
Posted by Emidawg  on  Wed Apr 05, 2006  at  03:34 AM
I am an actor. I deduct my cable bill as well as any movies I rent. It's research for my work.
Posted by Aiea  on  Wed Apr 05, 2006  at  04:18 PM
You can deduct anything as long as you don't get audited. But if the IRS (or its equivalent in whatever country you live in) ever does audit your taxes, claiming your dog (canary, etc.) as a dependent is never going to fly.
Posted by Big Gary in Old Dime Box, Texas  on  Wed Apr 05, 2006  at  04:34 PM
There's tons of things you can deduct though. If you spend X hours on the road at a time for work, you can deduct like $30 a week in food...(I guess the thing there is, no fridge/breakroom, you can't store food.)

The paperwork just gets more & more confusing.
Posted by Maegan  on  Wed Apr 05, 2006  at  09:41 PM
I knew it wouldn't take long before someone chimed in saying their pet is equivalent to a child.

No a pet is nothing like a child.

A pet can only ever consume resources; a child will one day be a productive member of society. Deductions aren't about costs; deductions related to dependent children are allowed in the hopes of helping the children become tax payers themselves.
Posted by Bob  on  Thu Apr 06, 2006  at  09:20 AM
Pets are not children no matter how much you love them. Children are people; pets are not.

However, I do agree its totally unfair for so many people to pay school tax when they dont use schools: single people, childless couples, parents who home school or send their kinds to private school, older couples, etc. I think those people should keep their school tax $. People who have their kids in other forms of school should have the $ for their own kids education, not somebody else's.
Posted by chyca  on  Thu Apr 06, 2006  at  05:39 PM
Its just like people to assume that humans should be the only living life form that should be looked upon as a tax deduction.

First of all, pets happen to do many things for people that many humans aren't willing to do and one of the greatest is showing unconditional love.

They are also used as service animals to help the disabled, many of YOUR human children refuse to do anything for others, therefore they should be looked upon as an equal, since there are just as many low life humans who suck dry the system and do nothing to help others.

Many service animals are also used to help mentally ill people and emotionally ill people cope with their diseases.

Animals are also used to help children and adults who are terminally ill inside the hospital, so next time any of you assume that animals aren't an equal life form I suggest you think again.
Posted by Monica Kincaid  on  Sat Aug 05, 2006  at  01:43 AM
Deductions are there to keep us from having to pay taxes on legitimate expenses, therefore pets (whom have been shown in many studies to reduce stress as well as being great for security (which make them very valuable members of society))are very much a legitimate deduction.I guess this is what we should expect from an agency that should no longer exist, and yet for some reason lingers on!
Posted by Victor Lopez  on  Tue Dec 18, 2007  at  01:45 AM
My cousing has been declared by a judge of the Workman Compensation Appeals Board as being totally disabled (physically and mentally as of March 2005.

I have been taking care of him for the past 8 years, paying his health insurance premiums, auto insurance and rent.

My cousing receives about $1,300 a month from Social security and workman compensation.

Can I claim him as a dependent?
Posted by Greg Kendrick  on  Sat Feb 02, 2008  at  01:39 PM
Where do you find people like this? They kind of make me ashamed of being American.
Posted by Ikia  on  Tue Mar 04, 2008  at  09:59 PM
Great blog I hope we can work to build a better health care system as we are in a major crisis and health insurance is a major aspect to many.
Posted by blue cross  on  Wed Apr 02, 2008  at  11:35 PM
I'm seriously considering it. We'll see if I have the guts to actually do it? 😉
I'm claiming the home office deductions, so the dog(s) ARE protecting my business. (computers, supplies, inventory, etc.)

I'll need to run it by someone who is an "expert".
Is it a 100% business deduction, like a junkyard dog or an incidental home office expense like a whole house alarm system? Probably the latter since they protect the rest of the house too. That means I can deduct the same percentage of their expenses as my office is (approx 25%, small house).
Posted by AAAAANDRE  on  Sat Apr 12, 2008  at  04:12 AM
"A pet can only ever consume resources; a child will one day be a productive member of society."

Criminals and their incarcerations deplete resources more than 100 times all the pets in the world.

"Pets are not children no matter how much you love them. Children are people; pets are not."

Pets remain dependent and therefore cannot repay us for their survival. They should unconditionally receive deductions for their care just as a child will never be able to repay for theirs, unless they are some liberal kid hollywood star.
Posted by mike  on  Sun Oct 18, 2009  at  06:08 PM
I guess this is what we should expect from an agency that should no longer exist, and yet for some reason lingers on!
Posted by Communication Skills  on  Thu Mar 25, 2010  at  03:19 AM
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