25 Strangest Tax Deductions Ever

Posted by , Updated on May 19, 2014


From birthday parties and body oil to dead parents and snitch fees these are the 25 strangest tax deductions ever.

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Body Oil

strangest tax deductions

It sounds silly but is often claimed by professional bodybuilders as a business expense.


Cat food

strangest tax deductions

A couple recently claimed their cat kept the junk yard they owned rat free, and thus safe for customers. The IRS said no way but according to courts…the IRS was wrong.


Hiring an arsonist to burn down your business

strangest tax deductions

Rather than continuing with his struggling business one man simply hired someone to burn it down. He even tried to write off the fee he paid to the arsonist.


Swimming pools

strangest tax deductions

There is the case of a man who, under medical recommendation to start swimming, installed a pool in his home. Of course, most people would just join the YMCA, unless you could do what this guy did and write the pool off.


Tricked out Amish buggy

strangest tax deductions

Although the tinted windshield and illuminated kick plates probably looked pretty cool, the IRS was not too keen on this one. Mind you, the buggy was actually a business expense.



strangest tax deductions

You are actually allowed to include the depreciation of livestock in a tax write off. Why did we specifically mention ostriches then? Because ostriches are awesome.


A bubble of pure air

strangest tax deductions

We all know air pollution can be annoying, especially in cities, so one man tried to write off a “bubble of pure air” that he had allegedly surrounded his family with. The IRS response? You may be surrounded by pure air but you’re full of hot air.


Oversized suit

strangest tax deductions

A concert pianist in New York had his pant legs and sleeves extended so he could move about more easily. He the applied for a tax deduction because the outfit wasn’t suitable for everyday wear.


Scuba diving trips to Florida

strangest tax deductions

One Michigan firefighter wrote off all his trips to Florida as training expenses since the scuba diving he did there helped him keep the diving certifications he needed for work current


Marijuana crop

strangest tax deductions

Yes, people have actually tried to write this off.


Deceased parents

strangest tax deductions

An 85 year old woman from Massachusetts tried to claim her dead parents as dependents. Although they met most of the requirements (no income, haven’t filed tax returns, weren’t claimed by anyone else) she was still turned down.


Globetrotting Journey

strangest tax deductions

One man managed to write off a $50,000 trip around the world by writing a book about it. Fun fact: only 20 copies were ever published.


Snitch fees

strangest tax deductions

Sometimes cops have to pay their snitches for tips. Once police officer successfully wrote off some snitch fees that the department didn’t reimburse him for.


Grandma's birthday

strangest tax deductions

One woman tried to write off the $2500 she spent on her grandmother’s 85th birthday because she supposedly handed out coffee samples and the meeting should be classified as a business expense. The IRS didn’t buy it.



strangest tax deductions

When two business owners decided to tie the knot they also considered it a good time to merge their companies. When they tried to write off the cost of the wedding as part of the merger they got a big “no” from the IRS.



strangest tax deductions

As hard as it can be to imagine life without your smart phone, one woman actually had a doctor’s prescription for it. After getting into a car accident, apparently Siri helped remind her of things.


Your dog's airfare

strangest tax deductions

As one woman recently found out, just because you bring Fido along on a work trip it doesn’t mean you get to deduct his airfare.



strangest tax deductions

One salesman tried to write off his toupee as a business expense because he said it gave him more confidence and allowed him to work better.



strangest tax deductions

This is one deduction that people push for quite often, usually under the guise of a “medical expense”. Unfortunately cosmetics are hard to claim as deductions.


Fallout Shelter

strangest tax deductions

As far fetched as it sounds, this is another deduction that some people try to claim under the category of “preventative medicine”.


Whaling ships

strangest tax deductions

As of 2004 all whaling captains are eligible for up to $10,000 in ship repairs. The strange part? Whaling has been banned in the United States for all but Native American cultures (most of which don’t whale).


Clarinet lessons

strangest tax deductions

In 1962 orthodontists argued that clarinet lessons are good for children with overbites. As a result tax laws were modified to make medically recommended clarinet lessons deductible.


Legal defense

strangest tax deductions

As weird as it sounds, criminals are technically required to pay taxes on their ill gotten gains. They can, however, deduct their legal defense.


Baby sitting

strangest tax deductions

Technically, you can only get this one if the reason for the baby sitting is charitable work.


Getting in shape

strangest tax deductions

Don’t get too excited about this one. It only applies if your doctor told you your life is danger unless you lose weight.

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