Take my wife. Please.
Every so often, an accountant will stumble upon a tax deduction that is perfectly legal but involves, well, let's call it a crisis of conscience.
Just such a moment came for the jocular Marty Abo, a CPA in Mount Laurel, N.J., when his client presented him with a rarely seen deduction.
"Here's this guy who should be able to include in his deductible medical expenses legal fees he paid to institutionalize his wife for treatment for mental illness," Abo says.
While the client could not include medical expense fees for the management of a guardianship estate or for conducting his wife's affairs while she is undergoing treatment, Abo concluded that, indeed, the lawyer fees involved to lock his wife up were tax deductible.
As it turned out, the amount the client spent did not exceed the required 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income, so no tax deduction was claimed.
"I tried to keep that one quiet, not wanting to give other husbands any ideas," Abo says. "After 259 dog years of marriage, what do I know?"