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“Dear IRS: Orangutan Hairs Are Legit!”: Trump’s Unique Mane Has Become A Key Visual Emblem Of His Business Brand

Dear Commissioner,

As you know, our client is dying to share his tax returns with American voters before the upcoming presidential election. However, he has prudently chosen to wait until your agency has completed its unfair audit of his Form 1040 filings.

Mr. Trump is offended and outraged that your inspectors have questioned several business expenses that he listed under Part V of Schedule C. We will address each of these disputed issues forthwith:

1. “Miscellaneous Hair Harvesting Fees — $767,000.”

Mr. Trump’s unique mane has become a key visual emblem of his business brand. All costs associated with the maintenance and enhancement of his hair should be deductible.

The silky orange strands on Mr. Trump’s head come from the armpits of Pongo pygmaeus, an orangutan found only in the rain forests of Borneo. Authorities there are protective of these rare animals, and have imposed upon Mr. Trump a fee of $1,000 for each harvested hair.

Mr. Trump asserts that this is a legitimate business expense, and it should not be challenged by the IRS.

2. “Orangutan Pacification Program — $315,400.”

Borneo’s orangutans are mostly peaceful creatures, but when provoked they are capable of attacking human intruders. Therefore, removing armpit hairs from an adult specimen can be both challenging and dangerous.

When Mr. Trump heard that orangutans can be soothed by classical music, he immediately arranged to fly a string quartet from the New York Philharmonic Orchestra to the jungle of Borneo.

There the musicians performed Schubert’s famous String Quartet No. 14 in D minor, also known as “Death and the Maiden,” which soon caused the orangutans to fall into a deep sleep. During that time, extraction experts hired by Mr. Trump successfully removed approximately 767 hairs from several adult male and female orangutans.

The high cost of this project was borne entirely by Mr. Trump. He used his personal aircraft to transport the string quartet to Indonesia and paid full union-scale wages for the musicians’ performance. He also reimbursed them for their malaria shots.

Because no other species of wild primate produces the unusual gossamer hair compatible with Mr. Trump’s image, we contend that the Borneo trip was a legitimate and necessary business expense under the current tax rules.

3. “Replace Damaged Viola (and bow) — $6,223.”

Through no fault of Mr. Trump, one of the juvenile orangutans awakened near the end of the quartet’s performance and went after the viola player. The man escaped unharmed, but his expensive instrument was seized from him and reduced to splinters by the testy young ape.

Mr. Trump considers this loss to be a deductible expense, no different from replacing a tire that blows out on one of his jets.

4. “Solarium Upgrade at Trump Tower — $178,655.”

Because Borneo’s equatorial climate is much warmer and humid than that of midtown Manhattan, Mr. Trump hired a contractor to enlarge and upgrade the solarium and tanning salon in his penthouse.

Without such improvements, which include an orchid-scented humidifier, the orangutan hairs obtained and curated by Mr. Trump would eventually lose their texture, sheen and special ginger hue.

In time, the strands would become brittle and break free from the thermoplastic micro-staples attaching them to Mr. Trump’s scalp. Clearly, the solarium modifications are essential for Mr. Trump to maintain his current appearance, and the growth of his brand.

5. “Personal Grooming Assistance — $322,399.”

As one of the most photographed figures in the world, Mr. Trump is puzzled by your agency’s failure to understand his need for a staff to assist with his daily grooming.

Many movie stars and TV celebrities less important than Mr. Trump employ teams of such assistants. They might not be paid as highly as Mr. Trump’s, but we would argue that the fees paid to his stylists are reasonable considering the challenges they face.

Mr. Trump can’t just walk into a Supercuts for a quick trim. It requires specialized skills to painstakingly comb, layer and shape 767 delicate hairs — and to keep them flawlessly in place for scores of TV interviews and town-hall gatherings. The stylists who work on Mr. Trump earn every penny he pays them, and the IRS has no cause to disallow these expenses on his tax returns.

He is looking forward to a timely completion of your audit, and would hugely appreciate it if you didn’t leak the part about the Borneo trip to any reporters.

 

By: Carl Hiaasen, Columnist for The Miami Herald; The National Memo, May 17, 2016

May 18, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Internal Revenue Service, Tax Returns | , , , , | Leave a comment

“Hoping No One Will Know The Difference”: Conservatives Shift Gears On IRS To “Income Tax Audits”

Something odd happened to Barack Obama’s approval rating last week: nothing. With a bunch of controversies swirling about the administration, one might think Americans would be thinking less of his performance. Yet the latest polls from Gallup and CNN both show his job approval essentially unchanged, at just at or above 50 percent.

So far anyway, these “scandals” are, like most scandals, an almost completely partisan phenomenon. Yes, there are some—Watergate, Iran-Contra—where the facts are so damning and undeniable that even the president’s own party can’t help but acknowledge them. But Benghazi and the IRS are not Watergate or Iran-Contra. Perhaps they’ll turn out to be, if we find out something completely shocking. Perhaps we’ll discover that Barack Obama is on tape personally ordering the Cincinnati IRS office to put the screws to Tea Party groups, just as Richard Nixon was on tape ordering his aides to get the IRS to audit his political opponents. But that hasn’t happened yet.

So conservatives are trying something new. If you were paying close attention the last couple of days, you saw them bringing up a new charge, one unrelated to the actual controversy: IRS income-tax audits. At first glance that may seem strange. After all, there hasn’t been any evidence that anyone was audited because of their political beliefs or activities. This controversy is about political groups being given undue scrutiny when they applied for 501(c)(4) status as “social welfare” organizations. The part of the agency that carries out those reviews doesn’t audit individuals’ tax returns. Yet here was Peggy Noonan, claiming “The IRS scandal has two parts. The first is the obviously deliberate and targeted abuse, harassment and attempted suppression of conservative groups. The second is the auditing of the taxes of political activists.” The “evidence” for Noonan’s explosive charge is that she read about a couple of conservatives who were among the 1.5 million Americans who were audited by the IRS last year (read Nate Silver for more on how unbelievably stupid Noonan’s allegation is). Here‘s an account of the weekend’s Virginia GOP convention, at which a whole slate of Tea Partiers was selected to run in November’s elections there: “By being here today, every one of you has just signed up for an audit by the I.R.S.,’ Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, said in a keynote speech. ‘You are officially now on the White House enemies list.'”

We’ll be hearing more of these stories. Because after all, if 1.5 million Americans were audited last year, plenty of them were conservatives. And plenty of those will be happy to tell their stories to Fox News or Rush Limbaugh or Peggy Noonan. “I signed up for my local Tea Party, and not six months later the IRS came after me!” they’ll say. Some of these stories will be told in high-profile forums, and others in more obscure outlets; for instance, here’s a conservative writer telling her tale of oppression to the Catholic News Agency. During her audit, she says, “They only wanted to talk about who was paying me to do my writing.” Really? “Hendershott said that the questions were not explicitly political, but she interpreted them to mean the agency was ‘wanting to know if there were individuals or groups who wanted me to write to advance their cause.'” Maybe. Or maybe because she’s a writer and they were auditing her income taxes, they were asking her who paid her to write because that’s where she gets her income. Just tossing that out there.

It’s pretty obvious what’s going on here. On one hand, nobody likes the IRS, so people are ready to believe the worst about the agency’s activities. On the other hand, getting your 501(c)(4) application subjected to unusual scrutiny is not something most people can relate to. Even worse, the reporting that’s emerging about the IRS office in Cincinnati (see here) paints a picture not of some coordinated effort at political oppression, but of a bunch of overworked, ill-trained people who barely understood the standards they were supposed to apply to these applications and didn’t get the support they needed from Washington. They ended up acting inappropriately, but it wasn’t a criminal conspiracy, and it didn’t reach up to the heights of power.

For conservatives, that’s not a very satisfying story. But they know that everyone fears getting their tax returns audited. So why not just tell everyone that’s what happened?

By: Paul Waldman, Contributing Editor, The American Prospect, May 20, 2013

May 22, 2013 Posted by | Conservatives, Internal Revenue Service | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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