The IRS likes to have fun too. Need proof? Then take a look at these tax deductions that are actually a pleasure to earn. (Thanks to H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt Tax Service for pointing them out to us.) — T.S.

-Host a qualified exchange student: Claim up to $50 a month as a charitable contribution.

-Go back to school: You’re eligible to deduct $4,000 in tuition and fees or take a Lifelong Learning credit of 20 percent of tuition and fees (up to $2,000).

-Start a business: Your first $5,000 in launch expenses is deductible up front.

-Spend big money: Buy a boat, car, or any other big-ticket item and write off the sales tax.

-Play Bob Vila: Install energy-efficient windows (or any qualified Energy Star home improvement; the IRS is compiling a list) in 2006 or 2007 and you’ll earn a tax credit — yes, credit.

-Buy a hybrid vehicle: Purchased in 2005, it yields a big tax deduction. In 2006, you’ll get a credit of up to $3,400.