Six Weird Tax Deductions

Are you a whaling captain? Parent of a kidnapped teen? You could benefit!
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2009 4:45 PM CDT
Six Weird Tax Deductions
Federal tax forms on display.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, file)

The tax code is more than 20,000 pages long and packed with loopholes galore. Newsweek lists six deductions you've probably never heard of:

  • Alaskan whaling captains can deduct up to $10,000 for money spent fixing their boats or on other whaling expenses. 
  • Parents of kidnapped children can now claim them as dependents until they turn 18—previously it was only the year in which they were taken.

  • Foreign nationals gambling legally in the US are exempt from the 30% withholding tax on their winnings that Americans must pay.
  • Parents can deduct childrens’ music lessons and the cost of buying a clarinet—the IRS approved the write-off on the grounds that orthodontists said clarinet playing would help with kids’ overbites.
  • Songwriters selling their catalog of songs can claim it as a capital asset, and pay the capital-gains tax rate—15% or less—rather than the income tax rate—which can go up to 35%.
  • Makers of fishing-tackle boxes no longer have to pay a 10% excise tax on each box—a provision inserted into the 2004 jobs creation bill lowered the rate to 3%.
(More tax code stories.)

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