Just sending some laughter your way!
Elizabeth Dittrick of Dittrick & Associates in Cleveland was a staff accountant with Arthur Andersen when she witnessed a particularly uncomfortable client meeting with a married couple. The deduction was legitimate; it was the underlying asset that proved to be the problem.
“We were going over their tax information and the tax manager asked the gentleman, ‘Now what about the mortgage interest deduction for the condo in Utah?’ Unfortunately, the wife didn’t know about the condo in Utah, where he had set up his mistress. It was a big ‘oops’ moment. There was this stony silence in the room. It was absolutely awful,” she recalls.
Playing with fire
Herb Wakeford, a CPA in Raleigh, N.C., recalls a Pittsburgh furniture-store owner who, after years of trying unsuccessfully to sell his business, hired an arsonist to torch the place. The insurance company paid off to the tune of $500,000, which the owner dutifully reported on his income tax return. However, along with taking the proper deductions for the building, its contents and the usual business expenses, he also deducted a $10,000 “consulting fee” he had paid the arsonist. An IRS audit two years later landed them both in jail. The IRS disallowed the “consulting fee” and slapped on $6,500 in additional taxes, penalties and interest.
He works in mysterious ways
And when all other loopholes seem closed, sometimes only a higher power can help.
One fine February, a rookie tax accountant completed a slam-dunk return for one of the firm’s old and trusted clients and turned it in to his boss, says Mary Anne Petesch, a CPA with Hagen Kurth Perman and Co. of Seattle. There followed several loud whoops of laughter from the partner’s office.
It seems the client had accidentally lost his dentures when they fell in the toilet and had claimed them on his taxes as an act-of-God casualty loss.
~Seriously, what are these people thinkin’?!