The Guardian reports on Swedish tax incentives:
The glittering hotpants, sequined jumpsuits and platform heels that Abba wore at the peak of their fame were designed not just for the four band members to stand out – but also for tax efficiency, according to claims over the weekend.
Reflecting on the group’s sartorial record in a new book, Björn Ulvaeus said: “In my honest opinion we looked like nuts in those years. Nobody can have been as badly dressed on stage as we were.”
And the reason for their bold fashion choices lay not just in the pop glamour of the late 70s and early 80s, but also in the Swedish tax code.
According to Abba: The Official Photo Book, published to mark 40 years since they won Eurovision with Waterloo, the band’s style was influenced in part by laws that allowed the cost of outfits to be deducted against tax – so long as the costumes were so outrageous they could not possibly be worn on the street.
Actually, US incentives don’t seem all that different. TurboTax advises:
Determine which work clothes are necessary for your job but not suitable to wear outside of work. However, just buying clothes specifically for work and never wearing them at any other time isn’t good enough. The IRS has accepted deductions for theatrical costumes, hard hats and other safety gear. Among the items that do not qualify are overalls, white dress shirts, and bibs even if required on the job site. For example, even though your company requires you to wear a suit each day, you cannot deduct their cost since you can wear the suits to weddings, job interviews and other occasions that don’t relate to work.