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18 Nice-Try Tax Breaks Rejected by the IRS

Over the years, taxpayers have concocted a lot of zany arguments to justify their tax breaks. We've come up with 18 of the most creative ones that the courts decided did not quite work.

As secret agent Maxwell Smart would say, "Missed it by that much!"


My Little Princess

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A couple's daughter began competing in beauty pageants at age 9. She won between $1,000 and $2,000 in prize money each year that was deposited into her college savings account. The parents reported the income on their returns and also took large write-offs for the cost of travel, costumes and other expenses.

Because the prize winnings were compensation for the child's services in the pageant, they are included in her income. And only she can deduct the costs, even though the expenditures were made by the parents. So the Tax Court denied the parents' deductions.

A Little Peace and Quiet

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A busy tax preparer ran her business from her home. During tax season, she felt so harassed from clients calling her at all hours of

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