Tax Day: Seven Unusual Deductions

If you are one of those people who waited until the very last minute to complete and send in your taxes, you want to make sure you take all of the deductions you’re entitled to. Last month, I wrote a blog post with some often overlooked deductions. Today, I will share some of the wackiest deductions you can take this year:

  • Bingo: Bingo-playing taxpayers can deduct the amount lost in a given year, up to the amount that was won. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allows taxpayers to deduct losses for other types of wagering, too. To do so, they must keep a detailed diary of the kind of wager, where they placed it, who they were with, and how much they won or lost.
  • Pet Moving: If you are moving and you’d prefer to hire a service to move your pet, rather than bring your pup along for the moving ride, you can deduct that expense from your taxes.
  • Clarinet Lessons: A clarinet and lessons can be considered tax deductible if a doctor has recommended playing the instrument as a method of correcting an overbite.
  • Uniforms: Work clothing must meet two conditions to qualify as deductible: It must be worn as a condition of employment, and it must not be a suitable substitute for everyday clothing. Examples cited by the IRS include the garb of delivery workers, firefighters, health care workers, police, transportation workers, letter carriers, and professional athletes.
  • Business gifts (under $25): You’re allowed to deduct up to $25 in costs spent on business gifts for any individual person. You can also widely distribute gifts under $4 that have your name on them. Examples can include pens, desk sets, and bags. In this case, the sum total can be deducted, even if it’s over the $25 limit.
  • Wigs: The IRS allows patients with hair loss traced to a disease to write off the cost of a wig, if a doctor recommends buying one. However, deductions for hair transplants are a lot harder to get. Regardless of the reason for the hair loss – age, illness. etc. – the IRS categorizes hair transplants as cosmetic surgery, which is usually nondeductible.
  • Weight Loss Programs: Some people who enrolled in weight-loss programs last year can deduct the money they paid in fees, according to the IRS. To be eligible, taxpayers must have enrolled to treat specific conditions diagnosed by doctors. Even when recommended by a health care professional, the cost of dance lessons, swim lessons, and health-club dues are not deductible.

These aren’t the only strange medical write-offs; others include support stockings and many more, according to IRS publication 502.
Don’t forget that if you met with an estate planning attorney within the past year, some of your legal fees may be tax deductible. We suggest that 20% of the total fees that you paid to our firm can appropriately be considered deductible tax advice.  Please read Part 4 of our Tax Time Series for more details.
Please note that getting a tax refund might affect your Medicaid or Social Security benefits. However, since everyone’s situation is different, it is wise to contact a Certified Elder Law Attorney such as myself to walk you through this process and ensure that you are not doing anything to affect Medicaid eligibility. Call us today at the Fairfax and Fredericksburg Elder Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, 703-691-1888 in Fairfax or 540-479-1435 in Fredericksburg to make an appointment for an introductory consultation.

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About Evan H Farr, CELA, CAP

Evan H. Farr is a 4-time Best-Selling author in the field of Elder Law and Estate Planning. In addition to being one of approximately 500 Certified Elder Law Attorneys in the Country, Evan is one of approximately 100 members of the Council of Advanced Practitioners of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is a Charter Member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners.

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