Kindness to Animals Not a Hit With Revenooers

Bad enough that IRS is cold-hearted when it comes to taxpayer folk, but how can it be so tough when it comes to critters of the four-legged sort?  Have they no humanity?

We guess not – and taxpayer Van Dusen got this message clearly when she claimed charitable contribution deductions for her foster-care cat expenditures.  But the Tax Court, in a move the SPCA surely cheered, overturned those heartless Revenooers and sided with the taxpayer in this instance.

Recall that no charitable deduction is allowed for the value of personal services which a taxpayer renders to a charity.  But out of pocket expenses do qualify if they are necessary to those services.  So along comes Jan Elizabeth Van Dusen who incurred certain volunteer expenses while caring for foster cats in her residence, in her role as a volunteer for “Fix Our Ferals,” a legit 501(c)(3).  Fix Our Ferals specialized in the neutering of wild cats, in order to humanely control the feral cat population.  Van Dusen’s expenses included payments for vet services, supplies, and household utilities, totaling over $12,000 in 2004, which she claimed as a charitable contribution deduction.  And along comes IRS who said, “No way!”

Mainly based on the notion that the services in question were not actually rendered to a qualifying charitable organization, not to mention the government’s position that the expenses were not properly documented.

“Bosh,” said the Court – which concluded that Ms. Van Dusen’s services were directed (overseen) by the charity, and thus the expenses qualified.

Bottom line – don’t be shy with your deduction computations when it comes to costs you incur in supporting the good work of your favorite charity!

And getting back a bit closer to home, here in the Silver State, you may want to check out, relative to the whopping amount of “unclaimed property” which the state holds.  Some of it may be yours!

The Associated Press recently observed, f’rinstance, that literally billions of dollars in unclaimed life insurance benefits are laying around – within the grasp of the sticky-fingered  (i.e.-broke) states.

But it doesn’t stop there – the Nevada State Treasurer, for one, recently publicized the fact that the State of Nevada is holding more than $490 million of dough, literally owned by over one million property owners.  And the Nevada Revised Statutes require that the names of these

missing-in-action owners be made public, so folks can claim their legitimate assets before the State swoops in and seizes the funds.

So – get on it!  You need the money!

CONSULT YOUR TAX ADVISOR – This article contains general information about various tax matters.  You should consult your CPA regarding the implications to your own particular situation.

Jeff Quinn, the author of this article, is a shareholder in Ashley Quinn, CPAs and Consultants, Ltd., with offices in Incline Village and Reno.  He may be reached at 831-7288, welcomes comments at, and invites readers to review his other commentary at