Some Unusual Tax Deductions: Abortions, Clarinet Lessons

Wednesday, 16 Apr 2014 10:59 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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People scrambling for last-minute deductions just before Tuesday's "Tax Day" deadline may have overlooked some of the more unusual tax breaks that have been on the books for several years, including deductions for anything from abortion to clarinet lessons.

For example, The Washington Times reports that both birth control pills and abortion remain on the tax statutes as legally allowable deductions.

According to the IRS, taxpayers who itemize deductions can include the cost for a legal abortion in their list of medical expenses, and if a person's insurance won't pay for the birth control pills, that is also a legal medical expense if the pills were prescribed by a doctor.

In addition, taxpayers can deduct the cost of home pregnancy test kits and vasectomies under the documented medical expenses. Maternity clothes are not deductible.

There are numerous other medical treatments that the IRS allows taxpayers to deduct, both mainstream and alternative. Medical marijuana isn't yet deductible, even though several states have legalized its use, but taxpayers can deduct acupuncture and chiropractor services, as well as fees for Christian Science practitioners.

And in one unusual deduction, parents have been allowed, since 1962, to deduct the cost of clarinet lessons for their child, if an orthodontist says it will help the child's overbite issues.

Even taxpayers who don't have any qualifying medical expenses can still shave dollars from their tax bill in many other ways, including through their pets.

Many pet owners treat their dogs and cats like children, but the IRS still doesn't allow animals to be claimed as dependents. Pet owners can still save money by including their animals on their tax returns.

For example, if a person is moving to another part of the country for a new job, he or she can deduct the cost of shipping pets to their new home.

In addition, animal foster homes can deduct the expense of taking care of dogs, cats, or any animals, while they're awaiting adoption, but only if the foster "parent" is working with a 501(c)(3) charity.

The cost of buying and training a service animal is also tax deductible, along with its related food, grooming, and veterinary bills. However, vet bills for every day pet owners aren't deductible.

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