10 outrageous expenses claims revealed

Updated: 

Music - ABBA - European & Australian Tour - Gothenburg, Sweden

The MPs expenses scandal broke almost five years ago, and it's still rumbling on. With countless names having fallen by the wayside, and even some criminal convictions, you could be forgiven for thinking that British MPs are unique in the extent to which they have exploited the system.

However, that's not entirely fair: there are people from all walks of life who are prepared to push the envelope on expenses. We have been digging out some of the more unusual claims from around the world - the vast majority of which have been accepted as falling within the rules - and here are ten of our favourites.
1. Swedish pop stars Abba have admitted that their outrageous outfits were designed for tax purposes. Apparently in order to be tax-deductible, their outfits had to be too shocking to be worn on the street - and so the age of the shiny pink cropped playsuit was born.

2. Another famous example of impressive tax relief was claimed by a stripper with the stage name "Chesty Love". She went to court to write off her 56FF breast implants as a business expense. The judge allowed it.

3. A Canadian executive successfully argued that the golf membership paid for by his company was not a valid employment expense - because he hated playing golf.

4. A survey by Robert Half Management Resources named the man who claimed for a speeding ticket as the most outrageous claim it had ever seen.

5. Business Week published a list of the craziest claims seen by a firm in Portland, including a group of employees at an energy-supply firm who expensed a live goat for a barbecue in Mexico.

6. In the US, a junk yard owner successfully claimed pet food as a tax deduction. He was feeding it to local stray cats, to attract them to the junk yard to scare away snakes and rats: and the authorities ruled it was a legitimate expense.

7. On the other hand, a farmer was not granted leave to deduct the cost of pet food for his dog. He claimed it was a guard dog, and therefore a legitimate expense. However, his story started to fall apart when he admitted it was a poodle.

8. And, this list wouldn't be complete without a share of UK politicians - including Ed Balls - who claimed £300 for 500 posters of himself.

9. Then there was Lembit Öpik, who claimed £30 for two fancy dress wigs from Hamleys.

10. And finally, who can forget that John Prescott claimed for two broken toilet seats in two years?