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April 12, 2024
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Tax experts caution against following bad tax tips on TikTok

As the deadline for filing taxes draws near, TikTok creators are sharing tips on what expenses to deduct, but financial experts are warning against relying on advice found on the social media platform, which may not be accurate.

One prevalent but misguided suggestion is the idea that individuals can write off their pets as business expenses or hire their own children to boost tax refunds. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has advised taxpayers against trusting questionable social media advice, emphasizing that following incorrect guidance could result in penalties.

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Mara Derderian, a finance professor at Bryant University, acknowledges the value of initiating financial conversations through social media but emphasizes the importance of seeking advice from qualified professionals tailored to individual goals.

Here are three dubious tax tips circulating on TikTok from “finfluencers,” or financial influencers, that experts caution against:



  1. Claiming a car as a business expense: While legitimate business expenses include vehicle costs, taxpayers cannot automatically deduct the purchase of new cars. Proof of business usage, such as maintaining a mileage log, is necessary, and deductions may not be applicable if the vehicle is primarily used for personal purposes.
  2. Hiring children and deducting their salaries: While parents can employ their children legitimately, the work performed must be essential to the business. Documentation, such as time sheets, is crucial to validate these expenses and prevent potential audits.
  3. Claiming a pet as a guard dog: Despite suggestions on TikTok, pets are generally not eligible for tax deductions unless they directly contribute to business operations, such as therapy animals or service pets used in counseling. Merely having a pet at home, even if it occasionally alerts the owner, does not qualify for deductions.
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Financial professionals urge caution when considering tax advice from social media, emphasizing the importance of consulting qualified experts for personalized guidance.

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