Strange Facts

The United States tax code allows for many unusual but legitimate tax deductions and tax credits.


Swimming Pool Costs: If you have a medical condition that would improve with a swimming pool exercise regimen, your swimming pool expenses might qualify as a deductible medical expense. This happened in the case of an arthritis patient who was prescribed to swim regularly in order to treat his condition. He installed a swimming pool on his property and deducted the expenses from his taxes. After some investigation, the IRS approved the deduction, but if the pool were used for recreational purposes, it wouldn’t have been approved.
Costs for Getting in Shape: Weight-loss expenses may be deductible if a doctor signs off on it and claims that your life might be in danger if you don’t start exercising and lose weight. The cost for remedies that help you drop a few pounds, improve your heart rate, or reduce your cholesterol might all be deductible.


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“The word “tax” comes from the Latin taxo, which means “I estimate.” –Josh Zimmelman, owner of Westwood Tax & Consulting.

“Uncle Sam wants you to be healthy!
If you quit smoking, you can write off any smoking cessation products or programs. Have a life-threatening medical condition like diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease? If a doctor signs off on it, you can write off diet/fitness products, classes, and programs. One person was able to write off the cost of their new pool because it was their form of exercise, as signed off by a doctor. However, if it was for recreational purposes, the IRS wouldn’t accept it. –
Ivy Chou, Content Director for DealsPlus.
Pecunia non olet or Money doesn’t stink!
This is a Latin saying. During the 1st century AD, Roman emperor Vaspasian placed a tax on urine. The buyer(s) of the urine paid the tax. The urine from public urinals was sold as an essential ingredient for several chemical processes e.g. it was used in tanning (not exactly sure how), and also by launderers as a source of ammonia to clean and whiten woolen togas etc. Therefore, those who obtained valuable urine from collectors were charged a tax.
In 1795, England put a tax on the aromatic powders that men and women put on their wigs. This led to a dramatic decline in the popularity of wigs.
Salt was a very popular thing to tax because consuming it is necessary to humans. The British placed a tax on salt, and the salt tax gained worldwide attention when Gandhi staged nonviolent protests against it.
England has a tax on televisions. If you own a television in your home, you must pay an annual fee, formally called a television license, for each television you own. This money is used to finance programming on the BBC. Color televisions are taxed at a higher rate than black and white televisions. Interestingly enough, if a person is blind owns a TV in his or her home, he or she still has to pay the tax, but only half of it. Failure to pay this fee is subject to criminal penalties. There were 155,000 convictions and fines in 2012 alone.