LA Lakers player, and husband of reality star Khloe Kardashian, Lamar Odom has sued the IRS because of a tax bill stemming from his 2007 return. Odom is requesting that the government allow his deductions for $12,000 in sports fines and $178,000 spent to stay physically fit. Athletes aren’t the only ones who would appreciate a tax deduction for gym memberships, cops, firefighters and other workers with fitness requirements would probably appreciate this deduction as well.
A college dropout, Odom is representing himself without a lawyer. In his personally signed pleading, filed at the court’s Washington, D.C. office on October 25, Odom disputed a bill that the IRS sent him in August. “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.”
On the same reasoning, Odom, now 31, also attacked an IRS decision not to allow taxpayers in effect to subsidize his efforts as a pro athlete to stay fit. “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.”
Tax law and court cases have tended to frown on writing off such items. In the explanation attached to its bill, the IRS wrote Odom, “We have disallowed some of the expenses you claimed as business expenses because it was determined they were personal expenses and not deductible.”