Tax Rascal

Tale of a Cross-Dressing, Death-Defying Tax Cheat

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You know what’s sane and normal? Having trouble letting go when a loved one dies. You know what’s not so sane or normal? Dressing up as a deceased parent for years in order to collect social security benefits and rent subsidies.

Irene Prusik passed away in 2003. But Thomas Prusik-Parkin kept on collecting her benefits for years. This had to take some planning: he started by fudging the numbers on her death certificate so she wouldn’t be listed as dead. After that, it was just a simple matter of, um:

donning a wig, nail polish and dresses to impersonate his dead mom and collect $115,000 in Social Security and rent subsidies.

Prusik-Parkin really exemplifies the idea of giving people a … Read more...

Fat Tax? Fat Chance!

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New Yorkers collectively groaned in outrage when the proposed ‘fat tax’ got closer to passing with the help of a survey of health care experts. But is it really such a great plan? And are the experts really experts?

The argument behind the ‘fat tax’ is pretty simple: people who drink non-diet soda (for example) weigh more, are less healthy, and thus end up costing more taxpayer money in medical expenses and lost tax revenue. Simple dollars and cents — and yet common sense seems to be absent from the debate.

Why not look into what actually happens when you substitute diet drinks for the regular kind? The results aren’t pretty: if one study is any guide, New Yorkers … Read more...


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