Unbelievable tax write-offs people have tried

CLEVELAND - Ninety days and counting for until the daunting tax deadline of April 15. When it comes to tax write offs, CPA Shauna Wekherlien has heard just about everything.

"I had a little bit of a giggle," said Wekherlien, who works for Tax Goddess. "[He told me] 'in order to be green and support the government, I would like to buy a camel.' So instead of driving in a car, he could ride his camel to and from work."

Add to that a client who wanted to deduct his carrier pigeons so he could  hide his business practices from the government.

"Telephones were monitored. Computers were monitored. Carrier pigeons weren't," Wekherlien said. "A magician could probably get away with writing off carrier pigeons. It all depends on who you are."


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Wekherlien hears about one or two of these crazy tax tales each year, like the man who tried to deduct pole dancing lessons for his wife as a medical expense.

"He decided that in order to lower his stress levels he was going to send his wife to a pole dancing class so that at home he would be able to have a very stress relieving performance for him. No!" Wekherlien said.

That's not quite what the doctor ordered. But if you order donuts for the office, you'll be a hero AND you can write them off and save yourself some dough. Just make sure you save your receipt. 

Employers can also deduct office decor.

"Paintings, some flowers, even the paint on the walls," Wekherlien said.

Some of the more commonly missed write offs include:

1)  Fees you pay to your financial planner
2)  Continuing education for work
3)  Moving expenses.

Just remember, the larger the deduction, the greater the risk. "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should," Wekherlien cautioned.

You can start filing your federal taxes on Jan. 30.
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