On the Steve Harvey show yesterday, “financial expert” Lynn Richardson was dispensing advice to a variety of guests. One of them wanted to know how to pay less in taxes. Okay. Fine. Richardson explained all the ways the guest could write off various items on her taxes — cell phone bill, gas for her car, cable TV, etc.
And then she offered up an interesting example from her own life…
I went and bought a Bible once, Steve, and that was a tax write-off, too, because I needed the spiritual wisdom to know what to do with my money. That’s a tax write-off. Everything is business. Everything.
That’s… quite the logic right there. Even Dave Ramsey, whose financial course is used by many evangelical churches, doesn’t list a Bible under a list of easy tax deductions. That’s because a Bible you’re using for personal growth is hardly a business expense or anything like it.
Peter J. Reilly, a CPA who contributes to Forbes on stories about taxes and religion, told me if a case like this ever ended up in Tax Court, “it would end up being a matter of credibility. The ‘Everything is business’ argument would not fly. The Bible might, but it would be too immaterial to matter.”
Which is to say she might be able to get away with it, technically speaking, but that doesn’t mean it’s good advice. And considering the Bible is free online, it’s really not good advice.
(Thanks to Susan for the link)