Apparently Lamar Odom enjoys being audited. Because I have to think when you sue the Internal Revenue Service over deductions you raise red flags on your returns from now until eternity.
But sue he did, according to Forbes. Without an attorney — these are personally signed pleadings.
Odom is fighting over two specific deductions — one he tried to take for $12,000 in fines paid to the league (money that does go to the NBA charities).
“The taxpayer claimed $12,000 of employee business expenses for fines that were assessed by the National Basketball Association,” he declared, writing in the third person. “These fines are commonly assessed on professional athletes and are work related. Therefore the fines incurred are ordinary and necessary employee business expense.” The petition, which listed his address as an agent’s office in Los Angeles, offered no details about the nature of transgressions leading to the fines.
Federal law generally prohibits tax deductions for financial sanctions resulting from criminal cases and matters like traffic violations. But Odom wrote, “The fines imposed by the team and the NBA are not imposed for the violation of any government law and are therefore not specifically excluded.”
If guys can write off fines, Rasheed Wallace should be a lot richer. The other deduction Odom wanted? Money to get in shape.
“The taxpayer claimed $178,337 of employee business expenses for professional training and conditioning,” he wrote. “The taxpayer’s employment contract requires that the taxpayer be in sufficient physical condition that allows him to perform as a professional basketball player throughout the basketball season.”
I’m not a tax attorney. Neither is Odom. Which is why my guess is the army of tax attorneys at the IRS wins this one. But you have to appreciate the effort.