To Deduct or Not to Deduct

What NOT to do when filing your taxes

By Hill Tiguila

It’s everyone’s favorite time of the year: tax season! To celebrate (?), the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA) asked its members about the craziest, most absurd tax deductions clients tried to claim on their tax returns.


Here are but a few gems:

  1. Table for one: One client tried to claim mileage for a 25-mile round trip to a restaurant where he had lunch solo.
  2. Can’t stomach this one: A slimmed down client tried to deduct a tummy tuck as a medical expense.
  3. Cruising for clients: One client tried to deduct his boat as an advertising expense because he occasionally takes clients for a cruise. That idea was sent overboard.
  4. The happiest place on earth (to work): One mouse-eared client tried to get a deduction for taking a family trip to Disney Land. He said he “worked the entire time” while on vacation.
  5. Fur-get about it: A client with a housecleaning business tried to get a deduction for her fur coat because she said she wore it while cleaning.
  6. Charity (does not) begin at home: Sorry — you can’t deduct “donations” to family members.


“Creativity is a beautiful trait to embrace, but there are better places to exercise yours than with your CPA and the IRS,” says Jeff White, MNCPA board chair. “Tax laws are very nuanced, but many of the deductions our members shared from their clients would create issues with the IRS.”

If you have any questions or concerned about what can be counted towards a deduction, or just any questions in general about your taxes, the MNCPA recommends contacting a CPA. If you don’t have one, you can call 800.331.4288 or visit