When the crime is willful failure to file federal income tax returns, at least, even a famous and wealthy actor can get the book thrown at him. Following is an excerpt from a court ruling (I found it on a web site called TaxProf Blog) on a request by Wesley Snipes (whose only movie role I can remember was Willie Mays Hayes in Major League) that he be allowed to travel for work while he appeals his conviction for three counts of willful failure to file income tax returns:
Accordingly, upon due consideration, Defendant Snipes’ Motion for Limited Travel for Work Obligations (Doc. 509) is GRANTED, and Defendant Snipes shall be authorized to travel to Namibia, Africa, from April 5, 2009 through April 29, 2009 and to London, England from May 4, 2009 through August 15, 2009 provided, however, that his conditions of release are hereby modified to require that Defendant Snipes fully cooperate with the Internal Revenue Service and disclose contemporaneously upon request any and all contractual and related documents concerning the business purpose of his travel, the anticipated revenue streams from the two films, the source of the revenue from these films, and the time, manner, and place Defendant Snipes, his assignee(s), if any, and any entity in which Defendant Snipes has any interest, expects to derive revenue in any form, present or future. In the event Defendant Snipes undertakes the requested travel set forth in this motion, he will be deemed to have accepted and consented to these modifications of his conditions of release without further notice or hearing.
Although the Court is granting Defendant Snipes’ current motion to travel, the Court is in no way discounting his prior violations of his conditions of release and travel restrictions. Any further violations of Defendant Snipes’ conditions of release reported to the Court by the Defendant’s supervising Pretrial Services Officer, whether such violations are deliberate, unintentional, or based on the advice of counsel, will result in the immediate issuance of a warrant of detention….
For those of you not accustomed to reading court orders, here’s what the court said: Mr. Snipes will be allowed to go to Namibia and London for work, but he must give the IRS all documents about the business purposes of his trips, how much he will be paid, and in what manner he will be paid; if he doesn’t, the U. S. Marshals Service will immediately arrest him.
Did you file your tax return?
SO MUCH FOR SIMPLIFYING THE TAX CODE, PART 2
From a Gannett News Service item that appeared April 9, 2009:
“With such a bloated tax code chock-full of special tax breaks for various constituencies, piecemeal tax reform is very difficult,” said Paul L. Caron, law professor at the University of Cincinnati. “Major tax reform is possible in our system, but only if it is truly so fundamental that it creates a constituency greater (in the politicians’ eyes) than the special interests that would be hurt.”
AT LEAST THE NEATNESS POLICE SHOWED UP AT THE RIGHT PLACE AND TIME (OR, WE’RE FROM THE GOVERNMENT AND WE’RE HERE TO HELP)
A homeowner was mistakenly targeted for a raid by police looking for a drug dealer. The raid resulted in damage to the front door of the home. The homeowner says he’s not mad at the police for what was apparently an honest mistake on their part. He has reason, however, to be displeased with the “constituent services” arm of his local government. As reported in the May 7, 2009, Baltimore Sun:
After the [incident], Leonard said his attention turned toward securing his home.
He nailed his broken door shut and for a time entered and exited the home through the alley. Eventually, he and some relatives did a “fair but amateur” job installing a new door.
The city denied his claim to be reimbursed for the damage to the door. Leonard said he was told that since the warrant listed Leonard’s address, the officers hadn’t technically stormed the wrong house.
Meanwhile, the old front door sat in the backyard for two months. Leonard said he called the city’s bulk trash pickup, but no one came.
The city inspectors who issue tickets for garbage in residents’ backyards did, however, and gave him a $50 fine. The door finally was picked up last Thursday.
This is a classic example of local government at its typical level of efficiency. The only city employees who showed up at the right place and time were the neatness police.