Patronizing a Prostitute is not Tax Deductible

The United States Tax Court thus opined today in Halby v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 2009-204.

Pro se plaintiff William Halby claimed more than $76,000,000 in medical expenses, contending that his purchases of pornographic books and magazines as well as for the “services” of a number of prostitutes constituted medical expenses.  In denying the deduction, the Tax Court noted, “Petitioner did not visit these prostitutes as part of  a course of therapy prescribed by his doctor, nor did petitioner  ask his doctor to prescribe any sort of sex therapy.”

Does the court mean to imply that if a doctor had advised the taxpayer to visit a prostitute, the expense would have been deductible?  I hope not.  But carrying out that line of thinking, say that  prostitution was legal in the taxpayer’s jurisdiction and the taxpayer’s doctor did advise him to visit a prostitute.  Then would the expense be deductible as a medical expense?  I’m guessing that deduction would be disallowed.  After all, there a little blue pill for these sorts of dysfunctional situations, right?  Of course,  this taxpayer clearly had more than just garden-variety dysfunction.

By the way, Mr. Halby was an attorney.

-Bridget Crawford

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