Being experts in tax returns for actors, musicians and other creatives, we often discuss the implications of what to claim as tax deductable. We all know it can be a grey area and advise people to exercise care when filing a tax return. Of course, almost anything you use can be classed as tax deductable, but it's good practise not to overstep the mark, in order to avoid the unsettling and time consuming investigation.
#1: Carrier Pigeons
You'd be forgiven for thinking this is some kind of joke! Surely the only people who keep carrier pigeons these days are scholars at Hogwarts? Seemingly not! In the USA, one man was so mistrusting of modern communications that he used them to get messages to his business partner who lived across town. He decided that it was only fair that could then write off the price of the pigeons, and associated costs. His CPA determined the pigeons were a legitimate expense, since it was the only way the man kept in touch with his business partner.
#2: A dog as an independent contractor
Pets are an expense; some might even say a luxury these days in times of austerity and yet, amazingly, many claimants try to somehow write off pets' expenses when filling out their tax claims. We've heard of a case where an owner of a junkyard in the USA was awarded legitimacy in his claim that keeping cats was pest control for rats and other vermin. And there even seems a reasonable case for those claiming that their dogs act as security, if they house expensive equipment. But by far the most ludicrous was a builder who claimed he'd hired his dog as an independent contractor. We totally dig that!
#3: Sunbed sessions
Amazingly, this has nothing to do with Al Pacino's orangey tan or any of the other celebrities criticised for their sun worship. Both body oil and tanning sessions are deemed to be viable claims for bodybuilders, who need to use both to keep their muscles looking good.
#4: Sperm donation
One man discovered that you can’t claim a depletion allowance on money you make from being a sperm donor. Depletion allowance is something set up for specific assets, such as oil wells and forests.
Whilst these have made us laugh here in the office, we of course remind our valued clients that exercising care and modesty when filing your tax claim is the best way to proceed and ensure that everything is above board.