The Most Unusual Tax Deductions Ever

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The Most Odd Deductions in Tax-Filing History: From Strippers and Fallout Shelters to Dentures and Dancing Lessons

Every year, taxpayers test the limits of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Scrap yard owners deducting cat food? Clowns deducting travel expenses? How about a deduction for your hot tub as a medical expense? H&R Block, after 50 years and more than 400 million tax returns, has scoured the archives and compiled a list of the most outlandish deductions ever submitted to the IRS. Find out more on

Did a bold pro bodybuilder get the green light to deduct high protein buffalo meat as a business expense? Was a wily exotic dancer allowed to deduct her size 56 FF breast implants? Read on to get the answers to these and other bizarre tax-related questions.

You won’t believe some of the deductions that were actually approved by the IRS! But remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. When in doubt, always consult a tax professional about questionable deductions.

Better Luck Next Time

You can’t blame these folks for trying but the IRS gave them a swift smack-down when attempting to deduct the following “medical expenses:”

  • Despite the popularity of reality shows with dancing B-list celebs, the IRS nixed dancing lessons as a valid deduction for the improvement of a varicose vein problem.
  • While thoughts of terrorism have all Americans on edge, the IRS did not accept the expense of building a fallout shelter as a “preventive medicine” deduction.
  • Much to one actress’ chagrin, one taxpayer’s attempt fell flat when trying to deduct the application of tattoos as a medical expense.

No one can accuse the following business professionals of lacking creativity. Unfortunately, the IRS didn’t agree with their perspectives on “business expenses:”

  • The IRS said sayonara to one loving pet owner who attempted to deduct a dog’s boarding costs as a travel expense while he was away on business.
  • An actor let his imagination get the best of him when he tried to take a business deduction for dentures that enabled him to enunciate without a hiss.
  • And that pro bodybuilder mentioned earlier in this article? The IRS deflated his efforts to claim a dietary business deduction for buffalo meat and protein shakes.

Unbelievable…but Approved

The following tax-paying citizens prove that reality is a state of mind. While their tax deductions might make you do a double-take, the IRS actually approved their daring medical expenses:

  • Exotic dancers unite! One professional dancer was allowed to deduct her breast implants as a legitimate business expense.
  • Play it again, Sam. Persistent parents prevailed in gaining IRS approval for deducting clarinet lessons as a medical expense to improve their child’s overbite.
  • Another A+ for the parents who convinced the IRS to allow the deduction of travel, room, and board expenses associated with their child’s enrollment in an Arizona boarding school to help with his respiratory problems.

A certain multi-millionaire might want to consider casting the following business-savvy tax payers in one of his TV shows. They convinced the IRS to accept their bizarre but valid business deductions hook, line, and sinker.

  • Although deductions were denied for one bodybuilder’s special foods, posing oil was accepted as a viable business expense for another. Slippery indeed!
  • Meow or hiss? Cat food passed the IRS censors as a legit business expense to attract wild cats to deter snakes from a scrap yard.
  • The proud parent of one pooch wagged his own tail when the IRS gave him a thumbs-up on a moving expense deduction for shipping his pet when he relocated.

Now that you’ve learned about some of the most odd deductions in tax-filing history, visit to learn how you can take advantage of potential deductions involving everything from i-Pods to organic foods.


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