Don’t look now, but April 15 is upon us, and it sure has snuck up! Unless of course you are getting money back, in which case you probably have already spent your refund. Great, you needed a new couch anyway. Too bad it wasn’t enough to get that recliner with cup holders to go with it.
Anyway, here we are on tax deadline day, when some of our readers might be scrounging around for some last-minute deductions and wondering if there are any you can take as a Native American. To strip some of the mystery out of tax time, we have compiled a list of things that might appear on a Native person’s deductibility wish list but are at best marginal and at worst risky.
On the one hand, there could be some legitimate deductions for, say, craft supplies if you’re a Native business owner, or regalia if you’re a dancer, said CPA Billy Holbert at the Virginia accounting firm Amburn-Holbert and Associates. On the other hand, he emphasized that it can be tricky—you’d have to really work hard to nail down the craft supply deduction, for example, and it might not take. Heck, you can just call Billy if you have any questions.
All of this said, here are 10 Things That Native People can’t claim on their tax returns.
Beat-Up Rez Mobile Modifications
That rez car you want to fix up? You know, the one that will cost more to fix than if you just bought a new car? Forget about it. Uncle Sam says you can’t claim it unless you use it as your primary business vehicle.
Unless you own “Wolf McGee’s Feather Beautifying Service” or some similar venture making money related to feathers, sorry Bub, no IRS break here if you just wear feathers to look awesome.
Your Cousins’ Kids Who Keep Eating Your Food
No matter how much food your cousins’ offspring eat when they come over, the vittles are simply not claim-worthy on your tax return. You can start charging for meals, but then of course that would be a business, and then you would have to declare the income to the IRS. Isn’t this fun?
I know Mom’s frybread is slammin’, but unless she owns a restaurant—no tax break here, my friends.
Contemporary Native American Paintings
Without a doubt, paintings and other such things can get expensive, especially the southwestern museum-style prints. But unless you own a hotel and are decorating it for the guests, the paintings can’t be claimed to the IRS. If you insure them, well now we are getting somewhere. Then again, you should probably ask Billy.
Even if you have 100 cans of this bizarre product, a product that when opened, is covered with clear jelly, well, let’s just say there just isn’t any kind of deduction here. I’m sorry, I know this is probably a major disappointment, but that is the way the SPAM block crumbles.
Native American T-Shirts
Nope. Sorry, no deduction. I know how many you have, but look I’m sorry. I don’t like Christopher Columbus either, and yes, I believe in Homeland Security since 1492, but these things are not tax breaks.
Any of Your Native American Video Games or Movies
Ever Since the Assassins Creed III came out with the Mohawk Dude, people think they are investing in something. But no, they do not come under the meals and entertainment category, because they have nothing to do with business. Make sure to leave your gamer tag in the comments section.
As far as movies, the humorless folks at the IRS could care less about your massive collection that includes Pocahontas, Smoke Signals, Flags of Our Fathers, Geronimo and The Indian in the Cupboard.
Umm, hopefully you don’t have any in your possession to deduct.
Unless you voice your opinion or create artwork for a living, I am sorry to say that spray paint really isn’t deductible at a personal level. You also might want to make sure you won’t get busted first—at least before you try to claim anything.
In this case, we’re not even sure if Bunky Echo-Hawk gets a deduction. Hey Bunky, just ask Billy.
This story was originally published April 15, 2014.