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One Tax Preparer Doubles as a Sex Worker, The Other Does Psychic Readings

Apr 15, 2011 – 7:40 AM
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David Moye

David Moye Contributor

Most of Lydia Tinker's customers come to her because she does a great tax return, but some come back because they want a psychic reading.

For the past 35 years, Tinker, a licensed tax preparer in La Mesa, Calif., has offered psychic readings from the spirit world to her customers, many of whom would simply be happy with a big refund check.

"Numbers speak to me," Tinker, 64, told AOL News. "I look at a birth date or a Social Security number and information comes to me about a person connected with the client. I'm cautious about who I tell this to, but sometimes I just have to reveal it. Luckily, it always seems to work out with the customer."

One Tax Preparer Does Psychic Readings; The Other Does Sex Work
Lori A. St. Kitts
Seattle tax preparer Lori A. St. Kitts caters to a unique clientele -- sex workers -- and helps them get deductions for everything from dungeons to D cups.
Sadly, the spirits from the great beyond seem more insistent about giving personal messages than tax tips, but Tinker's customers don't seem to mind.

"The messages usually aren't about the tax returns," she said. "It's more personal. It often brings about some awareness and closure."

Case in point: Tinker says a recent customer wanted to know if she could declare her brother as a dependent.

"It wasn't until I saw the brother's birthday that I got an image of a deceased man with wavy hair and very loose pants," Tinker said. "I don't always mention things like this to clients because I don't want to look like an idiot, but this spirit was insistent."

Tinker mentioned the image and asked the client if her brother lost an uncle-like figure in the last year or two matching the description in her head.

Turns out, the brother had been taking the death of his uncle hard, and the customer explained the loose-fitting pants on the uncle were because of a colostomy bag he wore.

Those little details, the customer said, were going to be able to help her brother come to terms with the death.

Tinker says she's always been intuitive, adding that it comes in handy when she's doing a return.

"I don't see mistakes," she said. "I feel them. Something just seems out of place."

Although Tinker keeps the fact she does psychic tax returns on the down low, word does get around.

"Some customers will ask if I 'see' anything," she said. "Other than that, it really isn't a big deal. I'm very good at taxes. The others just come naturally."

Still, she can't help but wonder what might happen in the future.

"I've only been audited six times," she said. "And, so far, I've never gotten psychic messages for the IRS agents."

One Tax Preparer Does Psychic Readings; The Other Does Sex Work
Corbis
Women who make their living as dominatrices, as depicted here, in places where it is legal can deduct the cost of their whips and chains as a business expense, St. Kitts says.
Tinker has managed to build a successful career providing something extra for her clients, while other tax experts find different ways to stick out in a crowded field, such as Lori A. St. Kitts, a Seattle woman who caters to clients in the sex industry.

She calls herself "Lori the Tax Domme" and for the past 11 tax seasons has helped keep adult entertainers such as phone sex workers, dominatrices and strippers from losing their pasties to the IRS.

"I fell into the specialty," she told AOL News. "I was already operating my own small seasonal tax business with a clientele that were mainly in the arts and entertainment industry."

After being laid off of work, St. Kitts began working as a phone sex operator and, as she became part of that industry, started answering tax and business questions.

"Before I knew it, people were e-mailing me, asking me to prepare their returns as they could not find a preparer with whom they felt comfortable or who understood the workings of the adult industry."

St. Kitts says the main challenge for her kinky clients is tax compliance.

"Most [sex workers] want to comply and pay their taxes, but the shame and stigma that society puts on them -- the same society that requests their services -- makes it difficult for them to easily come out to a tax preparer," she said. "This is precisely why I began working in this specialty. They often try to prepare their own taxes and miss valuable deductions and credits of which they well deserve."

What kind of deductions?

Well, according to the Tax Domme, phone sex workers can deduct things like whoopee cushions, which can be used to make realistic sex noises; lollipops -- especially those that spin (they soothe the throat and are good for sucking noises and throat soothing); and yogurt, which she says makes a lovely "squishy" noise.

"Of course," she added, "it has to be proven that these items are used in the course of the business only, such as on camera, in business photos and on the phone. Therefore, it is important to only include the exact amount of, say, yogurt that was used for work."

On the other hand, dancers and on-camera performers can deduct the cost of breast implants, but only if they meet a certain standard.

"Anything larger than 800 cc of silicone is considered a 'working breast' -- much too large for everyday wear," St. Kitts said. "Anything smaller would probably fall under what is referred to as the 'housewife rule,' as they would be everyday boobs."

Meanwhile, dominatrices who work in cities where dungeons and torture chambers are legal businesses can deduct things such as handcuffs, whips, chains, chastity belts and their racks.

Considering her client base, you might think St. Kitts has done it all. Well, no, she hasn't.

"I haven't been audited yet," she said. "However, I do prepare every return as if it were my own."

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That doesn't mean the IRS isn't aware of what she does and who she does it for.

"I like to speak freely about the adult business to the IRS when I attend the yearly Las Vegas IRS Forum," she said. "It's fun to be the voice of the [sex] industry and share their comments and concerns as well as my own."

She always enjoys the reactions she gets from the agents.

"I do receive many tilted eyebrows accompanied by a smile and have detected a slight blush now and again," she said.

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