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24 October 2018

5 “Taxing” Halloween Stories

5 “Taxing” Halloween Stories

While taxes are scary enough, we thought it would be fun to share some Halloween-related tax tales. Gather ‘round and be glad you’re not in the same situation as these poor souls:

First off, it’s troubling times for kids wanting to be the BLINK X-Men character this Halloween. One of China’s highest-paid actresses recently “went missing” for several months after the Chinese government billed her $129 million for overdue taxes and fines. The actress, Fan Bingbing, is known to US audiences for her roles in X-Men and Iron Man films. It turns out that during her disappearance, she was serving detention at a holiday resort while she sorted out how to pay the government back. Her case has put other Chinese actors on alert—many are on a list created by a Chinese talk show host that includes up to 585 celebrities who’ve been allegedly short-changing the government.

Back in the U.S., a Florida man has been indicted with mail fraud, money laundering, and attempting to impede IRS laws all while pretending to be connected with an IRS revenue officer. He sought more than $480,000 in fraudulent tax refunds and received them (yes, you read that correctly), using much of the proceeds to purchase property and gold coins. But first, he transferred funds while claiming to the IRS that one of its revenue officers was a trustee for one of the suspect accounts (he wasn’t).  

Heads will roll in the recent tax case of a New Jersey man who attempted to evade taxes on the sale of a valuable Caravaggio painting David With the Head of Goliath. The entire sordid affair is outlined here. It comes down to the creation of an “alter ego” company meant to hide $1.23 million in earnings for the sale of the artwork. With almost 20 years of previous stockbroker and investment broker experience, the IRS is certain the man didn’t lose his head; he knew exactly what he was doing.

And if you were selling your haunted house, would you need to warn the buyers? A New York court says yes because it affects the value (which not only can affect the sale price, but it can make a big difference when it comes to property taxes and capital gains and losses). In some states, known hauntings are considered a latent defect, which means they could be hidden (like rusty pipes or carbon monoxide leaks) and must be disclosed. But in Texas, there’s no such ruling in place. It seems in Texas the only incident related to hauntings that would need to be disclosed to buyers is whether there was a murder on the property.

Taxes can be horrifying, but we can demystify them for you. Contact us if you have tax questions keeping you up at night. 

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