Last week's question: With tax season beginning once again, some people may be tempted to use creative measures to reduce their tax bill. What would you feel justified to claim as a deduction if the IRS would let you get away with it?


THE WINNER: The raise I didn’t get
Ron Kemnitzer, Roanoke, Va

SECOND PLACE: The perceived value of my unsolicited advice
Jan Penske, Sellersburg, Ind.

THIRD PLACE: Gym membership fees as a charitable deduction
Lou Port, Odessa, Fla.

Political contributions deducted as gambling losses
Guy Lussiez, Santa Fe

My TV as a child-care expense, since it’s an electronic babysitter
Ken Kellam III, Dallas

That portion of my back taxes that went to fund unnecessary wars
Dick LaVine, New York City

All the money I’ve spent on disappointing movies
Alan Parven, Commerce Township, Mich.

The hours I spend wading through the Byzantine tax code to determine what’s deductible
Mark Weaver, Redondo Beach, Calif.

Realized capital loss on any lottery ticket purchase
Mark Chartier, Lyme, Conn.

My bartender’s children as dependents
Wes Conary, Uncasville, Conn.

The money spent buying power-ups on Candy Crush
Karina Avalos, Bakersfield, Calif.

The cost of alcohol consumed before and after parent/teacher conferences
Jeff Black, New York City

Lost wages due to idleness and/or laziness
Barry Cutler, Palm Desert, Calif.

My congressman and his family as dependents
Dave Mathewes, Canton, N.C.

A mileage deduction for trips to in-laws
Steve Heimann, Columbus, Ind.

I would get Social Security Numbers for my dogs and claim them as dependents
Rebecca Weaver, Muskegon, Mich.

Annual beer expenses deducted as “marriage counseling”
Timothy Paul, Fountain Valley, Calif.

All my tennis expenses (equipment, clothes, entry fees, travel), although my cash winnings have totaled only $5 since 1972
Lou Franzini, St. Augustine, Fla.

The water closet as my home office deduction: It’s where I do my best thinking
Kevin Morgado, New Bedford, Mass.

Since corporations now have the rights of people, I would become a corporation and pay no taxes
David Fisichella, Falmouth, Mass.

A 4.4 percent discount for the 4.4 percent of the year that the U.S. government shut down
Matt Gough, Corvallis, Ore.

I would claim all my online avatars as dependents
John Potter, Nashville

A credit for all the kids I didn’t have, kind of like a farm subsidy
Rebecca Adams, Cayucos, Calif.