Celeb Tax Perks: Can Nelly Deduct His Grillz?

As Paris explains in product literature: "In addition to my own sense of style, I think a lot of people admire Tinkerbell's look as well, which is why I decided to include a glamorous pet collar as part of the new collection."

Still, you'll be wearing an entirely different sort of collar -- personally fitted by IRS agents -- if you try to claim your pet as a dependent, even if your furry friend is otherwise considered a member of the family.

Can George Clooney Write Off Getting Fat?

Like a lot of stars, George Clooney has traded on his good looks, especially earlier in his career, when he played a hunky doctor on "ER." However, that doesn't mean he can start depreciating each new wrinkle on his face, now that he's no longer People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive."

But Clooney might be able to write off the 30 pounds he was required to gain in order to play the haggard CIA agent, for his Oscar-winning role in "Syriana," if he needed professional help to get fat fast.

Likewise, if Clooney needs a special regime to diet down for "Ocean's 13," that's also a business expense.

"As a lawyer, I think it might help my career to join a gym, so that I look my best in front of clients. But performers are among the few of us who can get to deduct the cost of getting in shape -- or even out of shape -- if that's what a role calls for," says Los Angeles entertainment and tax attorney Bill Abrams.

Stars like Clooney are often in a position to expense trainers and nutritionists. And if he takes a part as a golfer, he may even require extra tee time with a pro to get into character.

The IRS clearly recognizes such professional expenses. But you'd better be able to make your case, if you get audited and want to pass yourself off as a part-time thespian preparing for roles as a day spa junkie.

Q: Is Star Jones' Breast Augmentation a Business Expense?

Normally, cosmetic surgery is not deductible. However, if you can prove you need breast implants to do your job, the government might just let you write off your cosmetically enhanced chest as if it were part of your work uniform.

In a landmark tax court ruling from 1994, exotic dancer Cynthia Hess -- better known as "Chesty Love" -- successfully sued the IRS to take a $2,088 deduction on a boob job that left her with a size-56FF chest.

U.S. Tax Court Judge Joan Seitz Pate noted that Hess increased her income as a result of the surgery and that her cumbersome breasts, weighing 10 pounds each, were so large that she could not derive personal benefit from them. Hess had undergone the surgery "all for the purpose of making money" at an Indiana strip club, and the tax court allowed her to deduct the expense as a "stage prop."

But this certainly isn't the blanket rule for all entertainers. "You have to be able to ask, is the surgery necessary to fill a specific role," Shannon says. "And, obviously, sometimes the answer is yes."

In Jones' case, she might have a tough time making the argument that it was a business necessity. But plastic surgery can be considered a medical deduction if it is done to correct an injury, ailment or birth defect.

When asked about the procedure late last month, Jones said, "Let's just put it like this . . . two weeks ago was my 44th birthday but my (breasts) think they're still 20." That might not be the explanation the IRS is looking for.

Q: Are Celebrity Gift Bags Taxable Income?

The best part about being rich and famous might be all the freebees. This year's Oscar gift bag -- including a Blackberry 8700c, a Kay Unger Kimono, 13 vouchers for free trips, a cultured Tahitian-pearl necklace -- was valued at $110,000, and even the IRS was licking its chops.

"As the world watches the glamour and glitz of the Academy Awards, it's important to keep in mind that movie stars face the same tax obligations as ordinary Americans," said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson in a press release just before this year's ceremony. "We want to make sure the stars 'walk the line' when it comes to these goodie bags."

Let's just hope best actress Reese Witherspoon remains legally blonde.

Buck Wolf is entertainment producer at ABCNEWS.com. "The Wolf Files" is published Tuesdays.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
null
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...