Smith Dickson, An Accountancy Corporation 

April 2014


In the midst of a busy tax season, we could all use a break to laugh at the government's tax laws. The IRS and state tax codes might be full of loopholes and deductions but here are a few wacky tax breaks. 

  • Getting a deduction for burning down your house? As weird as it might sound, if you donate your house to the local fire department to burn down for practice, you can deduct the loss - as long as you donate your land, too.

  • Heard of the cigarette tax, right? How about arrows? One more strike against hunters. The government imposes an excise tax on arrows, with the money raised going to fund wildlife restoration. The tax is imposed on arrows that are more than 18 inches and/or are suitable for a specific kind of bow with a specific amount of draw.

  • If you're a pro body builder, you get a deduction, but a couch potato doesn't? The Tax Court has ruled that a professional body builder who uses special oils to prepare for competition could deduct his or her cost. Sorry for those who "build their body" on the couch, no tax write-offs!

  • Depreciable breast implants? A stripper was allowed to write off her breast implants because they're considered a stage prop. As a business expense, her assets can now be depreciated each year!

  • What's funnier, a clown that can deduct his costume or a politician who can't? A clown can deduct his costume because of its usability (if you can wear it somewhere else, it's not deductible). But a politician can't deduct his suit, even though the "costume" is used to emit joy, sadness and all types of other emotions! 

And a few weird state laws:

  • In California, fresh fruit is exempt from sales tax, but when purchased through a vending machine fresh fruit is taxable on 33 percent of the price.

  • In Washington, crushed, shaved or cubed ice is not taxable, but blocks of ice are taxable.

  • In Kentucky, stud fees for breeding a stallion to a mare is subject to sales tax. Taxes collected are distributed into three funds administered by the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority.

  • In Connecticut, the sale of a pumpkin in its "natural grown state" is exempt from sales tax because it is considered a food product. However, if the pumpkin is sold after being painted, its "primary purpose" becomes decoration and is subject to sales tax.

  • In Alabama, the state government imposes a 10-cent tax on the purchase of a deck of playing cards that contains no more than 54 cards.

  • Dead people in Ohio get a tax break because applying makeup in a mortuary is tax-free, while applying makeup in a beauty salon is subject to sales tax.

  • In Massachusetts a clothing item costing up to $175 is exempt from sales tax. However, if the price exceeds $175, the increment over that amount will be subject to the 6.25% state sales tax. 

Sources: and 



Smith Dickson is pleased to provide a new website feature -- our year-round "Tax Calendar."  Reference it for key dates for individuals, businesses (of all types), employers and estates/fiduciaries.


Some of the key dates for April include: 

  • Individuals: File or extend your 2013 income tax return and pay any 2013 balances due.  Also, it also time for your Estimated Tax Quarterly Payment (if you are not paying your 2014 income tax through withholding).
  • Partnerships: File a 2013 calendar year return (Form 1065).  Electing large partnerships should file a 2013 calendar year return (Form 1065-B).
  • Corporations: Deposit the first installment of estimated income tax for 2014.

Be sure to contact us with your tax questions and needs.





Smith Dickson is a full-service Southern California CPA firm that specializes in providing high-quality services designed to create long-term value for our clients. Our services include accounting, tax compliance and planning, litigation support, business consulting and estate/trust tax compliance. Please contact us with your questions.

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Smith Dickson, An Accountancy Corporation | 18100 Von Karman Avenue | Suite 420 | Irvine | CA | 92612