Have you ever been watching a morning news show or, I don't know, something equally deep like Access Hollywood and wondered whether that perfectly coiffed, perky, pearly person staring out at you from TV Land gets to write off her wardrobe, her trips to the salon, and her sundry cosmetic improvements? After all, those are all things she "needs" in order to look her best for her job -- shouldn't they be viable tax deductions?
Related: Are Salon and Spa Treatments Worth It?
Sounds logical but, not surprisingly, the stoic I.R.S. has its own rules about "logic" and about what do and don't qualify as justifiable write-offs. In fact, the law says whatever expenses you incur to improve your looks or your health are characterized as nondeductible. Period.
Not surprisingly, a lot of taxpayers, looking to recoup funds, fight back and as Julian Block, an attorney and author, writes on Forbes.com, "lots of business-versus-personal disputes wind up being resolved by the courts."
It was during one such dispute that perhaps a new precedent was set. The defendant, one Cynthia Hess (better known to many men by her exotic dancer stage name, "Chesty Love"), was trying to prove that the two breast surgeries that had augmented her cup size to a whopping 56FF and then, ultimately, a 56N, had been necessary for her job. These weren't just regular, run-of-the-mill boob jobs she'd had, they had made her who she was -- a very popular performer and without them, she'd have remained a relative unknown.
Ultimately, Special Trial Judge Joan Seitz Pate saw the light and said for someone like Chesty/Cynthia, her breasts were more of a "prop" than something she'd had done to feel better about her appearance. In fact, Judge Pate rationalized that the breasts were like a "uniform," most of which are deductible if they are "required as a condition of employment" and "unsuitable for everyday use." The final ruling?
Such mammoth implants are "useful only in her business" and are, accordingly, deductible.
OK, so while Chesty Love made (and won) her case, should people whose jobs are affected by their outward appearance (flight attendant, waitress, weather person and, yes, perky morning news anchor) be able to write off whatever expenses they incur as a result to get/remain attractive?