Monday, April 14, 2008

In case you were wondering: a tax tip from Vaca Estupenda

It's right there in black and white on page 28 of the IRS Publication 525.



And on page 31. Don't say I didn't warn you.



Update. In the comments, Tes observes that this means we'd better report our $600 "stimulus" checks. So remember: it goes on line 21 ("other income"), and be sure to put BRIBE as the type of payment.

Another update. Check it out: the current cost of the Iraq war per day is $341,400,000. My total Federal taxes for 2007 were $4418.00, which means I paid for roughly 1.118 seconds of the war. My salary over 15 years would pay for one Tomahawk cruise missile.

The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labour. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent. Even when weapons of war are not actually destroyed, their manufacture is still a convenient way of expending labour power without producing anything that can be consumed. ... And at the same time the consciousness of being at war, and therefore in danger, makes the handing-over of all power to a small caste seem the natural, unavoidable condition of survival. (George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four)

6 comments:

mike said...

Well, it's only fair. If you pay a bribe, you can deduct it as a business expense, right?

(Side note to Big Brother: I do not pay or receive bribes. Just sayin'.)

Rob said...

Actually, no! It's right there in Publication 535:

"Bribes and kickbacks. Engaging in the payment of bribes or kickbacks is a serious criminal matter. Such activity could result in criminal prosecution. Any payments that appear to have been made, either directly or indirectly, to an official or employee of any government or an agency or instrumentality of any government are not deductible for tax purposes and are in violation of the law.

Payments paid directly or indirectly to a person in violation of any federal or state law (but only if that state law is generally enforced, defined below) that provides for a criminal penalty or for the loss of a license or privilege to engage in a trade or business are also not allowed as a deduction for tax purposes."


So there you have it. If you received a bribe, you have to report it as income so it can be taxed. But if you paid a bribe, you can't claim it as an expense.

T said...

Too funny! So, er, I guess that means that we all have to claim that bribe--uh, I mean "economy booster"--of $600 that's supposed to materialize from the government this year....

I swear, if someone ran for president saying that s/he would eliminate the IRS and the exercise of doing taxes in favor of what we'll call a "European" system s/he would get a fair bit of support....

hsempl said...

of course, the government bribe will be included in 2008's (not 2007's) tax return.

T said...

I wonder what sorts of deductions might be able to offset that bribe....

And I guess one small comfort about my low salary is that I finance less of the war than most people!

mike said...

I'm very proud to have paid for half of the first S in the Mission Accomplished banner.