The Chuck Norris Home Deduction

You’re going to demolish it anyway; why not have an elite police force kick the doors in first?

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Inviting a SWAT team over to kick in your doors, dangle from grappling hooks, and twist "bad guys" into humiliating chokeholds isn't just fun—it's also tax deductible.

Just look at Jon and Barbara Scoll, an apparently free-spirited Minnesota couple that casually sipped coffee and watched a group of Chuck Norris types ravage the home they had lived in for two decades.


[Jon and Barbara Scoll] are among a small number of Twin Cities homeowners who have donated their houses to their local police or fire department to use for training before the house is razed to make room for a newer model.

Such donations benefit both the receiver (the public safety department) and the giver (the homeowner). The police or fire department gets a soon-to-be-scrapped house to use for training and the homeowner gets a tax deduction.

That's right—it counts as a charitable deduction, according to (Sorry, Justin Timberlake Foundation, I've found a new way to better the world.)

The Scolls' home was used to train SWAT teams from several police departments.


In one scenario, for example, the house became a meth lab with an undercover officer inside. In another, the house morphed into a medical clinic with an armed, mentally ill man holding doctors and patients hostage. Non-uniformed officers played both the "bad guys" and "innocent bystanders." (Hollywood, take note: There was some fairly good acting involved.)

Turns out, however, the process can be a real accounting headache:


The Scolls' accountant, however, was less than enthusiastic. It's a sure way of getting audited, he told them. The IRS has been cracking down on such deductions and had even recently taken a Wisconsin homeowner to court on the issue, he said. Indeed, finding a local CPA or tax attorney who knows anything about this particular deduction is difficult, perhaps because it's used by only a handful of homeowners each year.

"I've advised two or three over the years who have actually done it," said Tom Johnson, a partner with the Minneapolis-based accounting firm Boulay, Heutmaker, Zibell & Co.

Hey, Johnson, have you ever retrieved a live target from a hostage situation with only three to four casualties? Maybe you should think about that before you start whining about all your paperwork.