This one is for you, ladies of the night.
A 2005 audit by the New York Division of Taxation found gentlemen’s club Nite Moves owed over $125,000 in sales tax on door admissions and private lap dance sales. The club argued that dances are a performance, not a taxable “service.” We’ll leave that one alone.
A New York State appellate court ruled last Thursday that private lap dances are not a dramatic or musical art performance, despite Nite Moves’ claims to the contrary. It is unclear whether any state taxation authorities partook in said private lap dances to make this determination.
In this case, the burden of proof rested on the club, who did not provide enough evidence to satisfy their claim, according to the five judge panel that made the ruling. “In short, petitioner was denied the requested relief due not to the nature of its business but, rather, because of the inadequacy of its proof,” they said.
The club’s lawyer, Andrew McCullough, plans to appeal the decision. “We brought in the foremost expert in the field,” he said. “She is the one in this country who has made a complete and detailed study of the art of exotic dance and if they are not going to believe her I don’t know who you believe.”
That expert had not actually seen Nite Moves’ dancers but other, similar exotic performances. As any connoisseur of naked gyrating women knows, not all naked gyrating is created equal.
Tax laws in New York State require sales taxes to be collected and paid on admission to or the use of any place of amusement except for dramatic or musical arts performances.
Maybe if the strippers wore historical costumes or mime makeup they’d have a case.
Hey, Nite Moves, you really should have called the Tax Domme, she knows all about this stuff.
Remember the “Wealth Squad“? They’re the jolly bunch of IRS examiners that focus their audit efforts on the richest of richies because it’s become clear that wealthy people are incapable of being honest on their tax returns (plus, poor people don’t have any money).
This elite group was formed in 2009 and based on the IRS’s count, they’ve been some busy little taxbusters:
According to the agency, audit rates among taxpayers who reported $10 million or more in income in 2010 jumped to 18% from 10% in 2009. Among taxpayers who reported $5 million to $10 million in income, nearly 12% were audited, compared with 6% in 2008.
Seems like a nice little ramp up in activity which means a boost to the Treasury’s piggy bank, right? If that’s the case, the Service isn’t exactly thumping their chests about it:
The IRS has refused to report how much money the “wealth squad” has brought in. This isn’t so difficult. Britain, which set up a similar “rich squad” around the same time, has announced that its squad netted £162 million ($ 263 million) in 2010-11, up from £82 million the year before. Those amounts are on top of the taxes already paid by the rich who are being targeted.
Conventional wisdom tells us that if the IRS were to release these numbers, it would probably make for some nice political fodder and so the Administration is telling them to keep a lid on the results. If you thought the soundbites about new 16,500 IRS agents were bad, imagine if the IRS actually reported how much more money it got rich people to fork over. On the other hand, it could be that the Service is juking the numbers and the Squad has been a complete failure. Either way, it seems that the IRS wouldn’t gain much by shouting these stats from the rooftops.
Which doesn’t come as much of a surprise since the Dutch aren’t the rabid purtian, anti-tax type that exist in some countries.
“It’s a good thing that they’re doing this,” said Samantha, a statuesque blond Dutchwoman in a white leather dress who offers her services from behind one of the hundreds of red-curtained windows in the heart of the city’s ancient center. “It’s a job like any other and we should pay taxes,” she said.
Plus! Since these audits will be as boring as expected, there may be an opportunity to drum up a little business:
Prostitutes were told they would be audited in typically bureaucratic fashion, with a notice addressed “to landlords and window prostitutes in Amsterdam” published last week in the city’s main newspaper. “Agents of the Tax Service will walk through various elements of your business administration with you, such as prices, staffing, agendas and calendars,” the notice said. “The facts will be used at a later date in reviewing your returns.”
Or as a short, stocky, bald man once said, “I want details and I want them right now!”
As we’ve recently learned, IRS Agents are a zealous bunch. If you’re out of compliance you can bet the life of your labrador that they will run you down for the overdue tax, regardless of the sum.
Now perhaps you’ve been thinking that a little bribery might take care of things if you find yourself in a bit tax trouble. IRS Agents are human(?) after all; they fall ill to the temptations of this world just like the rest of us. And because they most likely have some sort of accounting background, they are most certainly caffeine abusers and thus, Starbucks whores.
But an Agent’s first responsibility is to serve the American Taxpayer and your attempts to tempt these civil servants with sweet, venti-sized, mega-calorie caffeinated beverages WILL NOT WORK:
Kim Oahn Thi Tran, also known as Jennifer Kim Tran, faced a tax liability of more than $13,287 for the 2006 and 2007 tax years on unreported income of $30,334, authorities said.
In hopes of lowering her tax liability, Tran sent a package on Nov. 30 to IRS revenue agent Imad Hararah that contained promissory notes and a $100 gift card for Starbucks Coffee that read, “To Imad: Enjoy,” investigators said.
Agent Hararah did not fall for this ploy. Nor did he accept the $2,000 that Tran attempted to give him. Instead this presented itself as a perfect opportunity to add charges, “On Dec. 9, Tran gave the agent $1,500, authorities said. In exchange, Hararah gave her a phony document that made Tran believe that she had a zero balance for 2006 and 2007 tax years.”
Does this guy love his job or what? Not cold hard cash nor natural stimulant will distract this man from doing his job. We can only assume that his brethren are of the same cloth and soon we’ll hear about Agents turning down dates with Lane Kiffin.
Woman charged with trying to bribe IRS agent [SF Chronicle]
So this morning we learned that some IRS Agents decided to get huffy with a taxpayer over a sum that was less than a sketchy gas station party favor.
With this in mind, the more affluent of you may think that the IRS was finally recognizing that the millionaires in this country are the ones that make things happen. If the IRS would just BTFU and let the rich do their thing we’d get this economy back to blowing asset bubbles.
Unfortunately, Doug Shulman has remained steadfast in his commitment to making millionaires’ life hell by virtue of increasing the number of IRS audits on the wealthy.
According to a report in the New York Times, audits of individuals that earn at least $1 million are way up, “The federal agency increased its audits of taxpayers who earned $1 million to $5 million by 33 percent last year compared with 2008.” And if you’re in an even higher class of Joneses, your chances of getting audited are going up too, “[T]he I.R.S. increased its audits by 16 percent for those earning $5 million to $10 million last year. Audits of those who made at least $10 million rose by 8.5 percent, according to the data.”
The Times quotes a tax expert, Richard Boggs of Nationwide Tax Relief who then says the unthinkable (our emphasis):
“The I.R.S. is getting smart,” he said. “They are starting to better leverage their time, resources and talent in order to collect the most money. There is a definite shifting of the tide.” He said audits of those making at least $10 million rose slightly less than for other categories because so many of the ultrawealthy were already being audited.
We’re sure Mr Boggs is a top-notch tax guru but there is strong evidence that suggests that the IRS will still try to collect less substantial sums.
However, we have to admit, the numbers don’t lie. Millionaires out there, your chances of getting audited are going up and that sucks. But what should make everyone really nervous is the Service attempting to collect your loose change. Next time you see a nickel on the ground, we suggest you leave it there.
H&R Block announced yesterday that it expects the IRS to get less kind and gentle in the coming years as the Service attempts to close the $345 billion tax gap.
The announcement states that the IRS is nearly doubling its budget for next year and that last year, 1 in 99 individual tax returns were audited as compared to 1 in 202 in 2000.
Maybe the Democrats do want all our money…
Audits Double This Decade [H&R Block Press Release]