Saturday, October 31, 2009
Jim Maule, Unmasking the Deductibility of Halloween Costumes
A few weeks ago, an email came my way that opened with this question: “Can you deduct the cost of your Halloween costume as a business expense?” It then answered the question:
No, if you bought it to go trick-or-treating with your kids.
Yes, if you bought it to attend a client's Halloween party.
For both? Then proportion the cost based on % of use.
You can find this question and answer on the web at Ways Through the Maze: A Tax Guide for Indies.[I]f a costume is purchased for use at a Halloween party, the taxpayer doesn’t have a ghost of a chance when it comes to deducting the cost. Hopefully, people aren’t goblin up the advice being shared by those who claim that the cost of a Halloween costume purchased for use at a client’s party is deductible.
Though I agree with the first part of the response, I recoil in horror at the second. Unquestionably there is no deduction if the costume is purchased for a Halloween outing with the children. But if the purchase is for a client’s party, the answer depends on whether the cost of attending the party is an ordinary and necessary expense of carrying on a trade or business. And that means that the third part of the response, dealing with percentage of use, requires a more sophisticated determination than simply hours at a party compared to hours with the children, but rather a comparison of deductible use versus non-deductible use. ...