It’s tax season! But just what’s deductible, and what isn’t? Here are the answers to a few common – but unusual – questions, courtesy of the IRS:
- Is your pet tax deductible? No. Not unless they’re a service animal for a disability you’ve been diagnosed with. In that case, the cost of buying the animal, plus training, feeding, grooming and veterinary care may qualify as a medical expense. You might also be able to deduct the costs for a guard dog that protects your business. But talk to your tax preparer.
- Can a girlfriend or boyfriend be claimed as a dependent? Bob Meighan, vice president of TurboTax, says that in some cases, the answer is yes. But only if they lived in your home all last year, made less than $3,800 in gross income, and can’t be claimed as a dependent by anyone else.
- If your doctor tells you to lose weight, can you deduct your gym membership? No. Because a gym is considered a “general-use” item. But if your doctor diagnoses you with a disease that requires weight loss – like diabetes – you could deduct a specific weight-loss program under medical expenses, like a nutritionist.
- Say you bought a cool new computer, can you deduct it as an education expense? Yes – but only if the device is officially required by your school or degree program. You’ll need a receipt and documentation proving the device is a requirement. And the education expense maxes out at about $2,000 a year.