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Weird Tax Write-offs (That Really Worked!)

1 minute Read

collageEver worry that your small-business deductions are a little bit of a stretch? We’ve compiled the most bizarre—but still legitimate—tax write-offs that the IRS has ever seen.

The lawn care claim. If a small business has a yard, even if that business is run out of one’s home, lawn care may be eligible for a deduction. The IRS ruled in favor of a sole proprietor who met clients in his home office—but didn’t necessarily have a green thumb.

A strong case. If bodybuilding is your business, you know that the right amount of sheen can really make those muscles pop. Or at least that was the argument presented to the IRS, who ruled the cost of body oil tax-deductible if it helped the bodybuilder’s business. Shine on!

The kibble write-off. Many small-business owners elect to have a dog on premises to guard against trespassers and potential thieves. Turns out, you may be able to deduct a portion of the annual cost of caring for your four-legged security force.

And don’t forget the tuna. Cats are helpful in controlling rodent infestations on business properties, and are often kept on site to keep pests at bay. If your business employs a feline exterminator, the cost of cat food and care could be deductible.

Call ‘em Ishmael. As of 2004, captains of whaling boats can deduct up to $10,000 for repairs, equipment purchases, and other business-related expenses. It’s worth noting that whaling in the United States is only legal for Native American cultures—so think twice before diving in to this deduction.

The overbite deduction. In 1962, clarinet lessons were deemed tax-deductible after orthodontists argued that playing the clarinet could help correct childhood overbites. The music lessons can be written-off as a medical expense—a tax tip to pass along to clients with kiddos.

A cold one. There is a record of one business successfully deducting the beer they kept on premises, supposedly to enhance the customer experience. This write-off surely created a buzz.

Want to learn about write-offs that are more likely to apply to your business? Check out 10 don’t-miss deductions here.




IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This is not investment, tax, or legal advice. Should you have questions, please consult your own attorney, tax accountant, or other appropriate expert having expertise in the area of your question or before making important decisions in these areas.