Maryann, a home-based Web site administrator in Virginia, owns 11 computers: five desktop models in the formal office area, another in the basement, a laptop by her bed, another in the den, two more in the dining room and one in her purse.
"It's a veritable showroom," she says. Coming soon: a notebook for the sunroom.
It's not that Maryann and her husband--who have been running the business since 1999 and who chose not to reveal their real names--have a compulsive computer-buying disorder. They want the tax deductions.
"At the end of each December, my husband and I look around and say, 'We haven't spent enough yet,' " she says. "Then we run out and buy things or do renovations. Of course, we keep detailed receipts. We save about $25,000 a year this way."
It's not just computers. The couple's list of work-related write-offs has included an office massage chair, a Kindle (Amazon's e-book reader) and even a mini refrigerator in the shape of R2-D2, the famously chirpy Star Wars droid. Are all of those items truly worthy of a write-off?