Thinking About Selling Body Parts as a Side Hustle? Review the Tax Consequences First! - Think Outside the Tax Box

Thinking About Selling Body Parts as a Side Hustle? Review the Tax Consequences First!

Sometimes my mind is not the safest place to be. I mean face it, a few issues ago I wrote on best practices for doing Al Capone’s tax returns. But how did I even get started thinking about the taxability of a business dealing in black market organs? Well, it started when someone on social media (perhaps looking to supplement the income from their tax practice) asked if the gain on selling a kidney was taxable and, if so, what would be the seller’s basis in the organ? Then there was that time I was having dinner and adult beverages with some tax colleagues in Las Vegas, and we started talking about that old urban legend about waking up in a bathtub full of ice missing a kidney. It was a fun night, and we all woke up with all of our kidneys and other organs in place. Nevertheless, I found myself wondering (and continuing to wonder) about the tax consequences of transacting in human body parts—one’s own or those illegally harvested from others. Turns out, there have been some court cases on the topic which means that the discussion is more than merely theoretical.

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