Looking Younger

Today TaxMama hears from Deneice in Petaluma, CA, who says. “I am the bookkeeper for an actor, who is (uh hem) getting older. He does commercials and the company he works with would like him to maintain as much of his ‘youthful’ image as possible. For him to do this, he has had some Botox treatments and has his hair dyed. I understand the hair dye is tax deductible, but would the Botox be allowed as a tax deduction?”

Hi Deneice,

Good question.

And since I am sunny California, I run in this kind of issue often, among my own clients who’ve had various kinds of surgeries. And here’s a way to handle it. (This is not necessarily the IRS-preferred way to do it, but…)

If the cost of the procedure is more than $500 (five hundred dollars), amortize the cost over 3-5 years, depending on whether it needs to be done again.

If the cost is less than $500, include it among the grooming, stage make-up and costuming expenses.

My logic is this, especially when it’s a man, few men are so vain that they would undergo this kind of torture just for their appearance. In fact, most men, as they age, look better, more distinguished, with grey, and some manly wrinkles, giving his face character.

Only a man whose job required it, who would lose his ability to get hired and to earn a living if he looked older and more wrinkled, subject himself to surgical risk of any kind.

I have had two audits on returns where I’ve taken this kind of thing as a business expense. IRS hasn’t objected. But, use your best judgment.

Be sure to let your client know, in writing, that this may be disallowed by IRS, or that he may have to fight for it in Appeals. But I think he’d have a good case.

Unless, of course, he’s one of those gorgeous Ricardo Montalban types or Sean Connery types who just look better and better with age. If the (female) auditor sees him and drools; or if the (male) auditor sees him and is envious… Then, forget it – he won’t have a chance.

And remember, you’ll find answers to questions about deductible expenses and all kinds of tax issues, free. Where? Where else? At TaxMama.com

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