Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Here are some Tax Court decisions that upheld unique deductions.  Do either apply to you?

·      Swimming Pool:

A taxpayer suffered from emphysema.  He installed a swimming pool after his doctor prescribed he undergo a daily exercise regimen. He swam twice a day, which improved his breathing capacity.

The Tax Court in Cherry v. Commissioner allowed him to deduct the cost of the pool as a medical expense, to the extent the pool’s cost exceeded the corresponding increase in the market value of the property.

The primary purpose of the pool was medical care. So the cost of heating the pool, pool chemicals and portion of the taxpayer’s insurance premiums were also deductible.

If you ask me – the taxpayer could have joined the YMCA or other health facility to get in his twice-daily swim at a substantially lower out-of-pocket cost, and the deduction should have been limited to the cost of the health facility membership.  I guess the Tax Court does not take frugality into account in its decisions. 

For more on medical deductions see my MAINSTREET.COM items “Tax Tip: When to Deduct Medical Expenses” and “Tax Tip: Can I Deduct My Gym Membership?”.

·    Body Oil:

A professional bodybuilder used a lot of body oil to make his muscles glisten in the lights during competitions.

The Tax Court, in Wheir v. Commissioner, upheld the deduction.  

The body building activity was engaged in a for-profit, and apparently glistening muscles increase one’s chances of winning a cash prize.  

The Court did not allow deductions for buffalo meat and special vitamins to enhance strength and muscle development.

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