Working at the IRS or representing clients before the IRS has its perks and advantages. Having the opportunity to observe all of the outlandish and bizarre attempts by taxpayers to assert legitimate,valid tax deductions is rare. On one hand, it certainly may involve the observance of a unique form of comedy. Here are some odd, crazy, unusual, and please note, unsuccessful tax deductions:
*Crazy Home Office Deductions
A woman that ran a home business tried to deduct what was basically her home refrigerator. She explained to her tax professional that she kept drinks in the refrigerator for customers and other business associates that came to the home office for meetings. According to the owner, this occurred four or five times a year while the refrigerator was in her kitchen and served her family.
“Like moths to a flame, some people find themselves irresistibly drawn to the tax protester movement’s illusory claim that there is no legal requirement to pay federal income tax. And, like moths, these people sometimes get burned.” United States v. Sloan, 939 F.2d 499, 499-500 (7th Cir. 1991).
As long as the federal income tax has been with us, taxpayers have tried to argue that income taxes don’t legally apply to them. The reasons and bases for these arguments usually include the voluntary nature of the federal income tax system, the meaning of income, and the meaning of certain terms contained in the Interenal Revenue Code. Taxpayers hanging their hats on frivolous positions risk a variety of civil and criminal penalties for tax evasion and tax fraud . And taxpayers that adopt these frivolous positions may face more severe consequences than those who only promote them.
Here’s a primer for United States taxpayers residing abroad:
U.S. citizens must file a tax return. Any U.S. citizen who earns income of any kind is obligated to file a U.S. tax return every year, no matter where he or she resides in the world. Many Americans, living abroad and in the U.S., find it unfair that the United States is the only country that requires citizens to file tax returns whether or not they are earning income on U.S. shores. This is a leading reason why some Americans are renouncing their U.S. citizenship.
Taxpayers must always be vigilant regarding the legality of an action related to the filing of their taxes. This includes whether they are filing an IRS form, calculating income, claiming a deduction, characterizing assets, preparing a tax return, or communicating with a third party claiming to be a tax advisor or employee or agent of the IRS. Taxpayers must not knowingly or unknowingly participate in any scams that involve the calculation, filing, and payment of their taxes or the results may be devastating. Here are some new and old tax scams of which all taxpayers must be aware: