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Five Forbidden Tax Deductions

1040 Forms
Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

One of the few joys of tax preparation is making deductions and watching your bill from Uncle Sam get lower and lower.

Here’s a list of five expenses that might be tempting to deduct, but are strictly forbidden by the IRS.

1. First Land Line
If you happen to be one of the increasing number of Americans who work either full or part-time from home, you might think about deducting part of the cost of your land line if you use it to communicate with your clients or your office. But that’s a big no-no, according to the IRS, which states the first hardwired phone in your home is always a personal expense. A second line would be deductible, of course.

2. Pets
It might feel like your furry friend is part of the family, and a pet can end up costing you close to as much as a child. But be forewarned: The IRS has a strict human-only policy when it comes to declaring dependents.

3. Plastic surgery/Gym membership
While looking your best can certainly improve your business prospects, you can’t include plastic surgery or gym membership among your business expenses. If you are able to get a doctors note saying that your plastic surgery was to “prevent a deformity arising from, or directly related to, a congenital abnormality, a personal injury resulting from an accident or trauma or a disfiguring disease,” you can, however, declare it as medical expense.

4. Time spent volunteering
While you can deduct the money you donate to charity, you can’t deduct the time you’ve spent volunteering. So you’ll just have to do that out of the goodness of your heart.

5. Over-the-counter medications
Previously, the IRS allowed those with medical flexible spending accounts (FSA) to include over-the-counter-medications in that program. However, as of this year, you need a doctor’s prescription to include any medications you buy over the counter in your FSA account.

[Bankrate Inc]

- Contributed by Jeremy Taylor

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