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Turn Your Life into a Deduction

In the interest of being more independent and, OK, saving money, this year I decided to do my taxes myself using Turbo Tax, rather than my expensive Westside LA accountants.  It triggered some past math trauma as I remembered Mr. Roche, my high school geometry teacher referring to me as the "dumb broad." This was way before Gloria Allred so there was no lawsuit, just a major amount of self-doubt and humiliation.

So, my BFF Laura is a do-it-yourself-er who takes DIY to the extreme — no task rabbit for organizing this girl’s spice rack. She handled her own divorce, details her car, and I’m for her to do her own open heart surgery on herself with a knife in one hand and watching instructions on YouTube.

So, Laura comes over and we dig into itemizing deductions, figuring out just how many rooms in my house are used for business, and can I deduct my dog expenses as providing me emotional support?

No, but cat food, I discovered, can be considered a legitimate business expense. This is based on a case where a junkyard owner brought in local stray cats in order to drive away mice and rats. The IRS accepted that the cats were essential for his business. Still, it wouldn’t work for me as I can’t even get my cat to stop throwing up fur balls, let alone participate in my business as cats aren’t great at writing jokes.

Laura and I then researched whether or not I could deduct my considerable therapy expenses. What I found out about that makes a statement about the American culture.

Did you know that therapy for treatment of sexual inadequacy is deductible, but a couple’s counseling to improve a marriage is NOT?  So, if a couple goes to therapy to improve communication – that’s not a medical necessity. But if someone isn’t getting laid, STAT Code Blue – that’s important. These rules were surely written by a dude who doesn’t value talking.

I also learned that if you want to help solve your husband’s sexual problems by going to the gym and looking hot, you can’t deduct that either unless your doctor is willing to say that your life might be in danger if you don’t start exercising and losing weight. But, it gets even more confusing. Elastic hosiery to treat blood circulation problems IS deductible, but my Spanx tights that make me look thinner and may make the difference between my getting laid or not are NOT deductible. This doesn’t make sense as the elastic hosiery could well be the reason a couple has sexual inadequacy. When was the last time a guy said, "Wow, you look so hot in those support hose?"

It seems that expenses for female items are less likely to be considered important enough for a deduction. Artificial limbs can be write-offs, but not artificial breasts, even if you are diagnosed with gender-identity disorder. You can deduct various surgeries and hormone therapy, but breasts are considered to be cosmetic and deemed nondeductible. The exception is if you need big breasts to work as a stripper, then the IRS considers them to be props and a business expense.

So, after a few cocktails, Laura and I finished our returns. Lo and behold, I’m getting a 50% larger refund than I did when I used the fancy accountants. And now that I’m onto the IRS, next year my refund will be even larger as I’m going to redesign my life.
  • There will be no more restaurant meals with friends. These will be business networking meetings… with friends… at restaurants.
  • Supplements I buy on Amazon are to prop me up to work, making my gummy bear multi vitamins and Vitamin D part of my business operating expenses.
  • My cat will no longer be a pet, but a YouTube star, bringing in revenue. No clicks, no kibble.
 Hey, Mr. Roche – whose the dumb broad now?

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Judy's Blog

Judy Carter blogs on comedy, storytelling and public speaking techniques, using personal stories and her adventures as a stand-up comic turned motivational public speaker. Her weekly blogs are read by fans of her books, “The Comedy Bible” (Simon and Schuster) and “The Message of You” (St. Martin’s Press), which include comics, speakers, and entrepreneurs. She is also known for teaching the value of humor and storytelling to businesses as a leadership and stress reduction tool.