BROOKLYN, N.Y.—Last year, we wrote about the retired Brooklyn lawyer who tried to declare hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax deductions, including money he spent on pornography, prostitutes and massages. The IRS said no way. The lawyer appealed, however, and now the state tax appeals board has ruled, and the answer is still no.
William Halby represented himself before the board, and according to Law.com, “described himself before the panel as a 79-year-old retired lawyer who has lived alone for years. He is a University of Michigan Law School graduate who was a tax law specialist for McMillan, Constabile, Maker & Perone in Larchmont before his retirement. According to the court system's website, he still is licensed to practice law.”
Those facts failed to sway the panel, which disallowed deductions for $40,588 on his 2002 return for "therapeutic sex," $70,776 for "massage therapy to relieve osteoarthritis and enhance erectile function through frequent orgasms" and $2,173 for "pornography to enhance sexual performance in lieu of taking Viagra."
A little over $6,000 in deductions were allowed, but according to the state tax board, Halby now owes $23,083 to New York state and New York City in unpaid income taxes, interest and penalties.
As far as the specific activities Halby tried to claim came under “medical deductions,” the panel stated, "Patronizing a prostitute is illegal in New York and, thus, a taxpayer cannot claim a deduction for any illegal operation or treatment.” Besides, they also noted, the lawyer had not gotten a prescription from a doctor for the claimed activities.
Halby also tried to get the panel to seal the court records, but that was declined, too. Seems fair anough to us. Considering the fact that from 2002 to 2004, Halby spent $277,961 on services that he subsequently tried to write off, but failed, it’s hard to see how a little publicity will be worse that the bad news he just got from the appeals court.