Sly efforts at tax write-offs in Minnesota: From tummy tuck to poodle

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 1, 2013 - 7:27 PM

A Minnesota CPA group is out with its list of strange — and laughable — tax deductions people try to claim.


Minnesotans, just like anyone else, want to claim every possible deduction come tax-filing time and take a little sting out of Uncle Sam’s take.

But c’mon.

The Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA), in a recent survey of its members released Thursday, is giving some clients an “A” for imaginative thinking but a failing grade for their “deductive” reasoning.

For example, it was a bit tutu much when a ballerina tried to claim the cost of a tummy tuck.

“Creativity is rewarded in many parts of society, but not by the IRS,” MNCPA Chairwoman Barbara Steinhauser said in announcing the list of strange tax deductions. “And many of the creative deductions our members identified in the survey would’ve resulted in intervention by the IRS had a CPA not interceded and encouraged the tax filers to remove them from their tax returns.”

With the surge in filers using tax-preparation software, Steinhauser issued this admonition: “Claiming an error on your tax calculations because tax preparation software said it was OK is not an acceptable defense with the IRS.”

Among the other bizarre — and bogus — write-offs that MNCPA members have seen for 2012:

• A pianist tried to claim manicures as a business expense.

• A farmer tried to claim food and veterinary expenses for his toy poodle as a farm-building “guard dog.”

• A Minnesotan wanted to write off the cost of a swimming pool as a medical expense.


Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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