Toupee or not toupee
Taxpayers will earnestly defend the most outlandish tax deductions in their futile attempts to claim everything from cosmetic surgery, breast augmentation and tattoos to such high-ticket must-haves as basketball courts and lap pools.
Joe Marchbein, a principal with Jack P. Fitter, CPA in St. Louis, recalls one hair-raising whopper that topped them all.
"When reviewing a return, noted in the work papers in the Schedule C expenses were payments for the client to buy a toupee and have it cleaned," he says.
When Marchbein flagged the entry, the preparer explained that the client, a dentist whose patients include a lot of children, had a wide scar on his head and was balding. The toupee covered the scar.
"When I inquired as to why this allowed the payments to be deductible, the preparer commented that the children would scream and cry if they saw the scar, and thus the hairpiece was needed to prevent any screaming," he says.
Marchbein blew the lid off this cover story when he pointed out that the dentist also wore the hairpiece outside of work, and therefore its purchase and cleaning expenses were not deductible.