Christie Brinkley Becomes a Tax Rascal

Categories: Entertainment, Featured
Christie Brinkley Becomes a Tax Rascal

The quad married, thrice Sports Illustrated, ex-Mrs. Billy Joel owes half a mill to Uncle Sam

There’s nothing we here at Tax Rascal love more than a celebrity tax scandal to distract us from the Tolstoyean tax drama of Congress. The latest celebrity to get on the IRS’s bad side is Christie Brinkley, the supermodel and former Uptown Girl.

The three-time swimsuit edition cover girl reportedly owes the IRS $531,000 in back taxes. In response, the government agency placed a tax lien against her Long Island home on November 21.

The New York Daily News reports that “the lien is on herRead more…

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Kirstie Alley’s Taxes and Other Celebrity Tax Scandals

Categories: Entertainment, Featured
Kirstie Alley’s Taxes and Other Celebrity Tax Scandals

The rich and famous who’ve avoided the taxman, at their own peril

Who pays taxes and who doesn’t? It’s a question that seems to occupy our country, what with people debating President Obama’s proposed Buffet Tax and Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan. But if who should pay more taxes is a question up for debate, here are some people who definitely didn’t pay their fair share.

The IRS consistently goes after celebs for unpaid taxes, in the hope that they might serve as a cautionary tale to us regular folks. Celebrity travails, the theory goes, will scare us into paying our taxes. At the very least it injects a little variety into the usual tabloid fodder. The following celebrities are some… Read more…

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Fast Cars, Mansions, Casinos — and a Tax Evasion Tale that Doesn’t Add Up

Categories: Featured
Fast Cars, Mansions, Casinos — and a Tax Evasion Tale that Doesn’t Add Up

Your typical leveraged buyout kingpin lives in a swanky Park Avenue apartment, or maybe a hollowed-out volcano in the South Pacific. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get some good old-fashioned tax dodging and company buying-out, right in the middle of Utah.

Husband and wife team Lester and Jeanette Mower liked the idea of trading companies for fun. The weird thing is that the confusing part is the legal part: they would create new businesses, merge them with existing public companies, and sell the stock. That meant a blizzard of paperwork, lots of legal fees, and transactions with dozens of banks and brokers. That’s the complicated part.

Next comes the simple part: once they sold their shares — they never… Read more…

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Do the Fat Cats Always Cheat?

Categories: Uncategorized
Do the Fat Cats Always Cheat?

According to a new study, yes: people earning $500,000 to $1 million understate their income by about 21%, compared to 8% for those earning $50,000 to $100,000. The first obvious response is outrage — how dare they lie, when they’re already so much better off? But a more practical question is to ask what we can do about this — and whether we should do anything at all.

To deal with tax evasion, you have to think like a tax evader. The first thing to do is to restate your term: the marginal tax rate isn’t a tax rate — it’s the return on dishonesty. Someone taxed at 15% gets fifteen cents for every dollar worth of lies;… Read more…

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Tax Q&A: I heard there isn’t actually a law that says we have to pay taxes. Is this true?

Categories: Uncategorized
Tax Q&A: I heard there isn’t actually a law that says we have to pay taxes. Is this true?

Is it true that there’s no law saying I have to pay income taxes? This is a common question on tax forums and discussion boards. Many websites and publications argue that paying taxes is illegal, immoral, unconstitutional, dishonest — basically every synonym for evil except “fattening”. The famous tax protestor Irwin Schiff calls income taxes “The Biggest Con.” The rise of popular libertarian candidates like Ron Paul has caused many people to scrutinize the Constitution and reconsider current tax rates.

So what’s the big deal? Is it true that we don’t owe taxes? Can we do anything about it?

There are several common conversational gambits among tax protestors, but the most common is: “What law, specifically, requires us to pay

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Race Car Champs, Prostitutes, Biden, Palin, and Other Tax Miscreants

Categories: Uncategorized
Race Car Champs, Prostitutes, Biden, Palin, and Other Tax Miscreants

Today’s taxosphere is still busy digesting the new bailout, but there’s plenty of other business to discuss. A pair of high-profile tax evasion cases have gotten some attention, the credit crisis is considered in more detail, and the Biden/Palin vice-presidential debate features some gaffes on both sides.

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Debates, Bailouts, Tax Evasion, and Other Taxosphere Tidbits

Categories: Uncategorized
Debates, Bailouts, Tax Evasion, and Other Taxosphere Tidbits

The taxosphere is abuzz with news as the bailout continues to be debated and revised. Meanwhile, day-to-day tax issues still dominate the discussion.

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The Swiss Banker, the Real Estate Billionaire, and the Smuggled Diamonds

Categories: Featured
The Swiss Banker, the Real Estate Billionaire, and the Smuggled Diamonds

Tax evasion is usually less exciting than it might sound. Often, it just amounts to shuffling some papers to create fake losses or shift profits — or, more often, ‘forgetting’ to do the paperwork that might cause a taxable gain.

Not so with the case of Igor Olenicoff and Brad Birkenfeld. Everyone in this deal tells a different story (one thing every version has in common is that the narrator is innocent), but it looks like it went something like this:

Birkenfeld was a middling banker at a very well-reputed bank, with exactly one great client. Igor Olenicoff was a billionaire with office space and apartments in Vegas, Arizona and Florida — he wasn’t exactly thrilled with the… Read more…

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