WSJ – What’s a more valuable tax deduction, a deadbeat boyfriend or a vicious guard dog? It depends on how big a deadbeat the boyfriend is.
No, this isn’t a bad joke.
It’s among the things taxpayers ask each year as they try to squeeze out whatever deductions they can.
And tax experts say they’ve heard it all.
Among the zaniest: How do I value a taxidermy I donated to charity? (It can involve estimating stuffing and mounting costs.) I’m putting a swimming pool in this year, I’m going to use it for exercise, can I deduct it as a medical expense? (Likely not.) What if my neighbor gives me a cow in exchange for help building a barn? (You must report the fair market value of that cow as ordinary income.)
Some people “are very creative and want to see if they can outsmart the tax code,” says S. Miguel Reyna, a certified public accountant in Dallas.
Of course, many of the queries aren’t so offbeat. Here’s a sampling of questions that tax experts are often asked.