13 tax deductions you never knew existed
By Ashe Schow | APRIL 15, 2014 AT 4:25 PM
It's tax day! And if you waited until today to file, these weird deductions might be helpful. Or you might not want to deal with them and just get your taxes done as fast as possible. Whatever floats your boat.
But if you are a penny pincher and want to give the government as little of your hard-earned cash as possible, these deductions might be for you.
1. Pet moving
Did you get a new job? Besides deducting your regular moving expenses, you can also deduct your pet moving expenses.
If you don’t want to take Fido or Fluffy with you as you drive across the country, you can deduct the cost of shipping them to your new home like doggy or kitty furniture.
Note: If you’re flying on the same plane as your pet, make sure they’re properly sedated. The last thing you want is to sit in the back of a tiny plane and hear your pet crying in the cargo hold behind you. (You know, hypothetically speaking. Not saying this ever happened to me.)
2. Fostering a pet
While we’re on the subject of animals, did you know you can deduct expenses for fostering an animal? If you’re taking care of a dog or cat while it’s waiting for adoption, you can deduct expenses for food, vet bills, cat litter and more. The “catch” is that you have to be working with a 501(c)(3) charity.
So, no taking in wild animals for tax purpose
3. Guard dogs and service animals
I promise to stop talking about animals in a minute (trust me when I say you won’t be happy about it). But first, if you use a guard dog (or cat, or ferret or whatever) to protect your property, you can deduct expenses related to its care.
The cost of buying and training a service animal can also be deducted, as well as its food, grooming and vet bills.
4. Alternative medicine
Sorry, not marijuana.
But you can deduct expenses related to acupuncture and chiropractors.
You can also deduct the fees for Christian Science practitioners.
5. Abortion and birth control pills
Have an abortion, get a tax deduction! How strange that pro-abortion advocates aren't using this as a selling point. Hmmm.
Oh, and while they hyperventilate over Hobby Lobby not wanting to provide every type of birth control without a co-pay, it turns out that birth control pills can be deducted if prescribed by a doctor.
Also, you can deduct the purchase of pregnancy test kits and vasectomies
6. Clarinet lessons
Does Junior have an overbite? Clarinet lessons might help, and then you can deduct the instrument and the lessons from your taxes.
Why? Orthodontists lobbied the government for the deduction because playing the clarinet helps with the overbite. (Full disclosure: I used to have an overbite. Sadly, piano lessons don’t fix the problem.)
7. Whale, whale, whale, what have we here?
Whale hello there, tax deduction! (Okay, I’m done.)
If you just so happen to be a indigenous Alaskan with a whaling ship (I’m sure a lot of you reading this fall into this category), you can deduct up to $10,000 for ship repairs, equipment and other whaling expenses.
Just a reminder: Whaling is banned in the U.S. except in indigenous Alaskan cultures.
Whale just have to wait and see what other tax deductions are available. (Seriously, I’m done now.)
8. Legal defenses
Go directly to jail. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.
But you can deduct your legal expenses if you were caught.
Wigs can be deducted if they are purchased “upon the advice of a physician for the mental health of a patient who has lost all of his or her hair from disease,” according to the Internal Revenue Service.
So no, you can’t deduct part of your Halloween costume.
Not included in the tax break: hair transplants.
10. Assume deer donated
You can get a $50 rebate in South Carolina if you donate a processed deer carcass to charity to feed to the hungry.
This donation only applies to professional meat processors in South Carolina, so please, don’t shoot Bambi for a tax deduction.
11. Childcare (if you volunteer)
If you do charity work, you may be able to deduct childcare costs.
Or, as Turbo Tax put it, “you can pay someone to babysit your kids while you work a job that gives no pay, and you may be able to write it off.”
Oh, you might also be able to deduct some of the travel expenses for that charity work as well.
12. B-I-N-G-Oh heck yeah!
In some parts of the country (Long Island, for example), bingo is a way of life, and as such, you can deduct your losses just like any other gambling.
13. Breast reconstruction
Sorry (I’m not sorry) to disappoint you on the gif.
We've all heard the story of the stripper who wrote off her breast enlargement as a business expense, but did you know that women can deduct expenses for breast reconstruction surgery if they've has a mastectomy due to breast cancer?
The IRS lists such a deduction as an example under its cosmetic surgery (which can't be deducted) section.
“An individual undergoes surgery that removes a breast as part of treatment for cancer. She pays a surgeon to reconstruct the breast. The surgery to reconstruct the breast corrects a deformity directly related to the disease. The cost of the surgery is includible in her medical expenses.
Bonus: Odd things you can’t deduct (that the IRS specifically mentions)
Apparently, so many people were trying to deduct the following that the IRS had to list them as “not includible” on its website.
1. Dance and swimming lessons
2. Childcare for healthy children
3. Diapers (unless they’re need for certain diseases)
4. Hair removal
5. Funeral expenses
6. Future medical care
7. Illegal operations and treatments (who knew?)
8. Maternity clothes
9. Veterinary fees