As tax-filing season heats up, the
Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants recently surveyed CPA members
in public accounting on the most outrageous tax deductions clients tried to
take on their tax returns.
Deductions for business expenses
are some of the biggest prizes and booby traps of doing your tax return. The list
shows that, more often than not, taxpayers just don't know which deductions are
Among the strangest recent
deductions, and unacceptable (at least in the eyes of tax authorities):
- Puttin' on the Ritz: We all like to
look nice, especially for business purposes. But you’re expected to arrive to
work fully clothed; looking nice is a strictly a bonus with no place on your
- Piano man: A humanities professor
thought he could deduct a piano. Sour note, unless the professor provided
lessons as part of a small business.
- Giving until it hurts:
Unfortunately for one filer, gambling losses didn't qualify as a charitable
donation to casinos or the Minnesota State Lottery.
- Foot powder: Fighting smelly feet
at the office can be a kindness to your co-workers. As far as the taxman goes,
the benefit stops there.
- Hull of a bad idea: One taxpayer
wanted to depreciate the cost of a large boat because it was used
“occasionally” for client entertainment.
- Thrill seeking: Amusement parks
don't qualify for a day-care deduction.
- Here, kitty: Even if your
cats keep mice out of the barn you use to make a living, in general, pet expenses
- To have and withhold: One taxpayer
tried to deduct part of his wedding costs because more than half the guests
were business contacts.
- Forever young: Botox, tanning,
nails and the like do not qualify as acceptable deductions.
- Getting there: You can get mileage
reimbursement either through your work (if offered) or the government for
mileage incurred while on the clock and for business purposes, but driving to
and from work is not going to stick.