The search for the biggest possible tax refund leads people to try to claim some interesting and potentially illegal deductions. While the odds are against you when it comes to being able to claim a pool or a private plane as a deduction, several exceptions give hope to taxpayers everywhere.
Cat food was allowed as a tax deduction after the felines helped to clean up a junkyard by eliminating snakes and rats, which in turn made the place of business safer. As a result, the IRS lawyers allowed the cost of cat food to be deducted for that family.
Moving the family pet
Moving to a new home as the result of a job change can afford you some tax liberties, specifically when it comes to the cost of moving a family pet. TurboTax says "your pet — be it a Pekingese or a python — is treated the same as your other personal effects."
A trip to Bermuda
TurboTax also says that business trips to conventions held in Bermuda are deductible. Even more, people claiming that deduction do not have to show that there was a special reason for the meeting to be held there, according to TurboTax.
Additionally, the TurboTax blog says similar tax benefits apply in Barbados, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. "Meetings held in Canada, Mexico and all U.S. possessions also receive this favorable tax treatment," TurboTax says. "Attend a convention in Paris, Rome or Beijing, though, and there's no deduction unless you can show it made as much sense to travel abroad as to head to Pittsburgh."
The tax court also ruled that a professional bodybuilder could deduct the costs of the body oil he used in competitions to make his muscles glisten, but deductions for buffalo meat and special vitamin supplements were denied.
A private airplane
One couple was able to write off the costs for their private plane because it was used to check on their rental condo. However, the court stipulated that the plane , including the cost of fuel and depreciation, could be deducted only for trips related to flights to their condo for the portion of time used for business-related purposes.
A stripper named "Chesty Love" was able to deduct the cost of her breast augmentation surgery since the tax court judge ruled that the cost of her operation could be claimed as a business expense.
Business owners who operate out of a home office are allowed to deduct a portion of the costs for landscaping and some home repairs, including driveway repairs, according to TurboTax.
One gas station owner was able to deduct the cost of beer as a business expense after he gave free beer instead of trading stamps for a promotion.
A person was allowed to deduct the cost of his pool due to the fact the patient had been told by a doctor to develop an exercise regiment to help his emphysema.
"The Tax Court allowed him to deduct the cost of the pool (to the extent that the cost exceeded its added value to the property) as a medical expense because its primary purpose was for medical care," TurboTax said. "Also, the cost of heating the pool, pool chemicals and a proportionate part of insuring the pool area were treated as medical expenses."
One person who owned several rental properties was able to deduct his live-in girlfriend who managed the properties.
"The Tax Court let him deduct $2,500 of the $9,000 he paid her. The disallowed portion was considered to be for nondeductible personal services," TurboTax says.