MSN MoneyCentral has a list of somestrange tax write-offs that people have claimed over the years. For example, there’s the disc jockey who claimed his dog as a dependent. Dogs (and cats) may require as much attention as kids sometimes, but they’re not a legal deduction.

Then there’s this one:

[A client] approached Manhattan CPA Marc Albaum about a very personal tax matter. “He had made some money being a sperm donor and wanted to know if he could take a depletion allowance,” Albaum recalls. “I told him he really needed to be an oil well or something like that.”

Other strange write-offs include:

  • The man who paid to have his furniture store burned down in order to collect half a million in insurance money, but then claimed a $10,000 write-off for paying the arsonist.
  • The man who tried to deduct the cost of his television and his cable bill on the grounds that he was using it to learn Spanish so that he could be a better teacher.
  • The man who wanted to depreciate an ostrich.
  • The man who wanted to deduct the cost of dog food because his dog acted as security for his home, therefore the dog food was a security expense.
  • The man who accidentally dropped his dentures in the toilet and wanted to claim them as an “act of God” casualty loss.

I have to admit that as a small business owner, I’m often amazed at some of the things that you can deduct. I never try to push the limits, though, simply staying with the tried and tested stuff. I’d certainly never try to depreciate an ostrich!

[9 Weirdest Tax WriteoffsDon't try this at home.]