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10 Bizarre Tax Deductions for the IRS Provocateur
February 17, 2012 01:51 PM
The Internal Revenue Code is roughly
longer than the Bible; it contains
3.4 million words, 9,833 sections, and 7,500 letter size pages
. The size of the code is necessary, however, because it contains important information for taxpayers, such as a clarification that illegal bribes, kickbacks, and other payments to government employees and government officials cannot count towards a tax deduction. When considering the size of the code, it makes sense that bizarre tax deductions and bizarre tax information exist. Little known tax deductions like the ones in this article, though, may be able to save you money on your taxes for 2011.
If Somali pirates captured you while you vacationed off the East African coast in your boat in 2011, your family or friends may be able to write off the expenses that they incurred from paying your ransom (see
Another Hijacking off Somalia Keeps World's Weirdest Stock Market Moving
). According to the IRS,
kidnapping ransoms are tax deductible because they count as a loss from theft
. This portion of the code also applies if you have other unfortunate run-ins with infamous groups, such as the mafia, as losses due to criminal activities count as tax dedications: blackmail, embezzlement, and extortion. Just make sure that you ask the Somali pirates or the mob for a receipt or a note because the IRS places the burden of proof on you.
The current volatile economic environment has forced many individuals to travel for new and gainful employment, and the IRS has given newly relocated employees a break by not only allowing the write-off of their own travel expenses, but also allowing the write-off of their
pets' travel expenses
Speaking of pets, if your business requires the use of a
, you may be able to deduct a portion of their expenses as a business expense.
You may have also overlooked your child's promising genius as a clarinetist for tax relief. In 1962, orthodontists successfully argued for a provision to allow the writing off of
clarinet and clarinet lesson expenses
. Orthodontists claimed that playing the clarinet helps a child with his or her overbite, thus qualifying as a deductible medical expense.
Additionally, the IRS has made tax deductions available to encourage better personal habits and public health, such as write-offs for
aides and programs for quitting smoking
. Those that made a New Year's Resolution to quit smoking in 2012 may find extra motivation in knowing that Uncle Sam might reward your efforts by not taking as much of your money in April of 2013.
The IRS sometimes condones individuals' charitable propensities by allowing you to write off
while you work for a non-profit organization.
You may not know but farmers in the United States own herds of ostriches. A farmer in Louisiana deducted the depreciating value of his
because the IRS allows tax deductions for depreciation costs of livestock used for breeding purposes.
If you are an Alaskan Eskimo and hunt for whales, you can deduct up to
off your whale-boating equipment and boating upkeep costs. Do not attempt whaling if you do not descend from Native Americans; you will be thrown in jail.
For all of our Amish readers, you may be able to deduct any accessories that you put on your buggy to pimp-your-ride. An
successfully deducted the following expenses: dash lights, kick plates, tinted windshield, speedometer, hydraulic brakes, and dimmer switches (Are the Amish even allowed to use lights?).
Working as a stripper procures tax deductions through job expenses. Thanks to the persistence of
, a.k.a. "Chesty Love," strippers can deduct the cost for breast implants because Hess’s lawyer successfully argued that she needed a breast augmentation to compete with other women in her line of work.
Unless the government reforms the tax system, you can expect the Internal Revenue code to keep increasing with oddball tax deductions. The loop holes can be stretched many different ways. Don’t, however, forget about easier ways to save on taxes. CPA Jessica “James,” author of
Justice for None
, provides ways to save on taxes that most people can utilize, such as putting money into your traditional or ROTH IRA or your Keogh or SEP and making reasonable deductions home office deductions. She also says to use your Flexible Spending Account in 2012 to its fullest potential because the new Health Care Act will limit the maximum amount of money you place into these pre-tax medical expense accounts. Furthermore, she warns to liquidate any investments that you may have thought about selling because in 2013 the Tax Relief Act will expire, raising rates on capital gains from 15% to 20% and rates on dividends from 15% to 39.6%.
Or, of course, you could just buy a bunch of whaling gear and hope the auditor doesn't notice your blue eyes.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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