The Craziest Expenses of 2012

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business expenseCertify, a Portland, Maine expense management software firm, told Bloomsburg Businessweek about some of the craziest things employees tried to write off as business expenses in 2012.

According to Certify, it’s not typical to get a baby giraffe cleared as a business expense.

The expense management software company recently shared with Bloomsburg Businessweek some of the strangest expenses they saw submitted as legitimate claims to companies over the past year. The list is based on more than 1,000 surveys Certify conducted with companies about the weirdest submissions they saw all year. Certify didn’t give out the company names or whether the claims were actually accepted or not.

Some of these could be passed off as legitimate business expenses. For example, while a write-off for deer urine may seem extremely odd, it makes plenty of sense for those familiar with hunting. If a business deal can be closed by spending a few nights out in the woods with a potential partner, deer urine could be a necessity. The agricultural company said the claim from the employee said the deer urine was an integral prerequisite for the hunting trip’s success.

A baby giraffe at a party, however, may not be as legitimate. The restaurant/hospitality company that answered the survey simply said the animal made an appearance at an office event. Just as strange was a Mexican energy supply company getting a claim for a goat. No word on whether the goat left the party.

The third and final animal on the list were live baby octopuses. Again, this may seem strange at first glance, but it makes a lot more sense with a little context. These were ordered at a sushi restaurant by a visiting Japanese businessman.

An employee at a medical device manufacturer probably didn’t get his or her money back for the purchase of four lawn flamingoes. Surprisingly, these were not purchased for home use but rather to be put in the office.

Laser tattoo removal might be a good idea for some people who stumble into an important job. An IT professional decided his or her tattoos didn’t fit the contemporary professional look and wrote it off as a business expense, explaining that it enhanced the customer’s experience.

Body oil may very well be important in some occupations, but probably not in this instance. A retail store got the claim from an employee saying the oil was necessary for his or her bodybuilding competition. But a dunk tank, used at a company party to help boost morale, was probably seen by everyone attending as a legitimate expense. Except for the managers who were dunked, of course.

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