Writing off a firearm?

21 Replies

This may be a wacky question, especially considering I couldn't find any search results pertaining to this, but can you write off the cost of a pistol as a business expense? I own almost a dozen rentals in the Tri cities area of Michigan, which is known to get a little dicey in certain parts. While I myself have not been in a situation which would warrant using a firearm and pray I do not, I have heard stories of landlords being assaulted while working or picking up rent. I've pretty much made up my mind that I am going to get a pistol and take some training courses; being the savvy guy that I am however I was thinking about how I could save some money. Any input? 

In my experience, NO. It is not a business expense.  Always check with your accountant.

I'm an NRA certified instructor in "Basic Pistol" (think "Handguns 101").  I recommend a LOT of training and you have to know that if the "defecation hits the ventilation" that you will 100% use that gun to stop the threat, even if that means taking a life.  IF you don't, the bad guy will end your life with your gun.  Know the laws of your state too and what it takes to get a concealed carry permit.  Also look into insurance and what to do should you have to use deadly force.

Pro tips: Go with a knowledgeable friend to the range and try out MANY guns before you buy one.  If the range also sells guns (most out here do) they may let you try several without additional fees if you buy a gun through them.  Nothing is worse than spending $400-$2,000 on a gun, plus another couple hundred on ammo, just to find out you don't like that gun!

Of course the biggest tip: Don't buy homes in unsafe areas!

@Alex Martin check with your tax pro. There have been court cases won where the taxpayer wrote off a firearm. You can also write off guard dogs and other whacky expenses.

The key is that the expense must be ordinary and necessary for your business in order to deduct it. So the question is, how will you make the argument that your firearm is an ordinary and necessary expense for your business? 

Firearms may be necessary (protection) but are not ordinary purchases in the regular operations of real estate businesses. Thus, the "ordinary" hurdle will be the biggest for you to climb over.

Good luck!

I agree with the ordinary and necessary hurdle conclusion. 

In a totally unrelated, (yet at the same time in a totally related example), I've seen the IRS (and even Courts) permit women getting breast implants to treat them as a necessary part of their business activities (they were nightclub entertainers - i.e., strippers). 

Normally you would never think such a thing could ever pass muster (i.e., its 100% a personal expense and a somewhat frivolous one at that - right?). However, because of the very unique aspects of their particular profession, the Service (and Courts)  can accept this as an expenditure directly related to business activities.

Below is an article excerpt demonstrating this (you can easily find others):

"In 1994, one stripper's attempt to get more tips led her to undergo breast augmentation surgery. She then proceeded to deduct the expense from her taxes. tax court judge ruled in favor of the stripper, stating that the implants were a stage prop, and thus a legitimate work expense that can be deducted."

Originally posted by @Ryan Huggins :

In my experience, NO. It is not a business expense.  Always check with your accountant.

I'm an NRA certified instructor in "Basic Pistol" (think "Handguns 101").  I recommend a LOT of training and you have to know that if the "defecation hits the ventilation" that you will 100% use that gun to stop the threat, even if that means taking a life.  IF you don't, the bad guy will end your life with your gun.  Know the laws of your state too and what it takes to get a concealed carry permit.  Also look into insurance and what to do should you have to use deadly force.

Pro tips: Go with a knowledgeable friend to the range and try out MANY guns before you buy one.  If the range also sells guns (most out here do) they may let you try several without additional fees if you buy a gun through them.  Nothing is worse than spending $400-$2,000 on a gun, plus another couple hundred on ammo, just to find out you don't like that gun!

Of course the biggest tip: Don't buy homes in unsafe areas!

 You can't stop the bad guys from coming to the nice areas but you CAN stop the bad guys:). Most of these are not legal in CA so your only option is to move to a free state. 
AOW 12 gauge
MP5
MAC M11A1 with silencer
Mini-Uzi
Colt M16

Originally posted by @Christopher Smith :

I agree with the ordinary and necessary hurdle conclusion. 

In a totally unrelated, (yet at the same time in a totally related example), I've seen the IRS (and even Courts) permit women getting breast implants to treat them as a necessary part of their business activities (they were nightclub entertainers - i.e., strippers). 

Normally you would never think such a thing could ever pass muster (i.e., its 100% a personal expense and a somewhat frivolous one at that - right?). However, because of the very unique aspects of their particular profession, the Service (and Courts)  can accept this as an expenditure directly related to business activities.

Below is an article excerpt demonstrating this (you can easily find others):

"In 1994, one stripper's attempt to get more tips led her to undergo breast augmentation surgery. She then proceeded to deduct the expense from her taxes. tax court judge ruled in favor of the stripper, stating that the implants were a stage prop, and thus a legitimate work expense that can be deducted."

 I somehow remember reading about this, or at least similar cases since then.

Originally posted by @John Thedford :
Originally posted by @Ryan Huggins:

In my experience, NO. It is not a business expense.  Always check with your accountant.

I'm an NRA certified instructor in "Basic Pistol" (think "Handguns 101").  I recommend a LOT of training and you have to know that if the "defecation hits the ventilation" that you will 100% use that gun to stop the threat, even if that means taking a life.  IF you don't, the bad guy will end your life with your gun.  Know the laws of your state too and what it takes to get a concealed carry permit.  Also look into insurance and what to do should you have to use deadly force.

Pro tips: Go with a knowledgeable friend to the range and try out MANY guns before you buy one.  If the range also sells guns (most out here do) they may let you try several without additional fees if you buy a gun through them.  Nothing is worse than spending $400-$2,000 on a gun, plus another couple hundred on ammo, just to find out you don't like that gun!

Of course the biggest tip: Don't buy homes in unsafe areas!

 You can't stop the bad guys from coming to the nice areas but you CAN stop the bad guys:). Most of these are not legal in CA so your only option is to move to a free state. 
AOW 12 gauge
MP5
MAC M11A1 with silencer
Mini-Uzi
Colt M16

John, you can't even have your fingers in the shape of a gun in CA!  I love my vacations to Nevada where just about everything is legal.  Now if only my CA CCW had reciprocity there... or anywhere!

@Ryan Huggins

Real estate and machine guns make a great combination...at least that is what I have been told:)
If you go to my website you will see a "we buy houses" page along with another page on RE.
Move to FL and I can hook you up with both:)
www.NFAsales.com This MP5K shoots from inside the briefcase. Not sure I want to sell this one!

@Ed S. they are intended to protect the shooter's hearing. Silencers are now "mainstream" and are legal to use for hunting in several states. 

Originally posted by @John Thedford :

@Ryan Huggins

Real estate and machine guns make a great combination...at least that is what I have been told:)
If you go to my website you will see a "we buy houses" page along with another page on RE.
Move to FL and I can hook you up with both:)
www.NFAsales.com This MP5K shoots from inside the briefcase. Not sure I want to sell this one!

 That gun reminds me of the guitar case guns in "Once upon a time in Mexico". 

Hello Sir. This is a great question. I've never heard of that being done before. But, I do feel like it's possible to do if you're a landlord in Metro Detroit. I say go for it! Be careful out here Sir!

Thank you to everyone who replied, I am definitely going to talk to my accountant about this but just wanted to test the water with everyone here and maybe someone else will find this thread useful. 

I would not consider the areas I invest in highly dangerous, the majority of the families are lower income working class people just trying to get by. Although, just as with any city there are some pockets of iffy areas. 

I second the recommendation that you use an online rent collection service like cozy.co. If you're actually going to a bad section of town to collect rent, something is wrong. 

@Alex Martin

First off, why are we picking up rent in person?  I would revaluation your business process for rent collecting.  Picking up lots of cash person in a bad area is a recipe for disaster!  Let them go to the bank and pay rent or use online services like cozy or erentpayments to name a few.

Originally posted by @John Aloisi :

I second the recommendation that you use an online rent collection service like cozy.co. If you're actually going to a bad section of town to collect rent, something is wrong. 

 You guys are taking all the fun out of playing James Bond when you go to collect rent. This is my .410 gauge "flashlight"...it no longer works as a flashlight:) Nobody would ever suspect!

If you're going to buy any of the legal automatic weapons suggested by some other commenters, you're definitely going to have to depreciate them. They are very expensive and have long useful lives, so definitely a capital asset....  :-)