Ask Dr. Notebook

Q. Now that the tough part of the tax year is over, what are IRS employees doing in their downtime?

A. Even in the off season, agents engage in scholarly explorations of some of the more obscure aspects of tax law. Last week, in response to a taxpayer's question, the IRS issued a ruling regarding deductions for a kidnapped child. The child can still be claimed as an exemption, but only in the year of the kidnapping, even if that child's room is maintained and money is spent trying to find him or her in subsequent years. But the IRS is...

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