Thursday, January 21, 2010

What's Wrong with Our Income Tax #1: Yarr!

Just got my W-2 at work, and was taking a minute to dig into the tax code to try to figure out if I was going to get much of a refund or not. I know (or at least have heard) that charitable donations are deductible, but was trying to find that in the tax code, so I went to a section on "Charitable Donations", where I was bemused and a little frustrated at this section that was just thrown in there in the middle of a list of things that were deductible:

Expenses of Whaling Captains

You may be able to deduct as a charitable contribution the reasonable and necessary whaling expenses paid during the year in carrying out sanctioned whaling activities. The deduction is limited to $10,000 a year. To claim the deduction, you must be recognized by the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission as a whaling captain charged with the responsibility of maintaining and carrying out sanctioned whaling activities.

Sanctioned whaling activities are subsistence bowhead whale hunting activities conducted under the management plan of the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission.

Whaling expenses include expenses for:

  • Acquiring and maintaining whaling boats, weapons, and gear used in sanctioned whaling activities,

  • Supplying food for the crew and other provisions for carrying out these activities, and

  • Storing and distributing the catch from these activities.

Glad to know that whaling activities are specially mentioned and explicitly deductible (assuming you have the blessing of the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission). Not sure why this falls under charitable donations, though.


Marble Madness said...

That is really funny! Not sure I have ever read that in the Tax Code. If you have any tax questions, I'm totally here for you Jake.

j said...

Thanks Emily! My main question is, now that I have a decent job and will likely be needing to itemize my deductions, where do I begin? In the past I've always just used the 1040EZ, but I think that between taxes/fees on my new car and charitable donations, that ought to add up to more than the standard deduction.

Marble Madness said...

Definitely! Also, don't forget the state income taxes that you pay with each paycheck. Many single people don't realize that once we have real jobs and are paying more in state taxes, that with tithing and stuff we can still get above the standard deduction, even without owning a house/condo. Maybe I ought to do a blog post on it or have a tax party or something. Here is a link to the instructions to Schedule A - itemized deductions

Take a look at that and if you have questions, go ahead and email me.