• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

Alec Baldwin Faces Tax Charges

Actor Alec Baldwin owns a residence in the city, but claims Hamptons is his home base.

Actor Alec Baldwin owns a residence in the city, but claims Hamptons is his home base. (AP Photo)

Actor Alec Baldwin is among hundreds being targeted by New York City for tax evasion.

The Daily News:

Actor Alec Baldwin has joined a list of elite New Yorkers targeted by tax collectors who think they’re fibbing about where they really live to dodge New York City income taxes.

In recent years, auditors have confronted hundreds of super-wealthy New Yorkers over the residency rules – including star Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter.  Facing shrinking revenues, the state has ramped up its pursuit of suspected tax dodgers, hiring 189 new auditors and – for the first time – making filers swear under oath on tax forms as to how many days they “spend in New York City.”  If it’s more than 183 days and the filer has a residence in the city, the tax bill goes up.

Baldwin, star of NBC’s “30 Rock,” owns a three-bedroom co-op on Central Park West, a house in the Hamptons and a pad near his daughter in Los Angeles.  He spends lots of time in the city doing the show, but claims the Hamptons as home base. That made him one of hundreds of people slapped with an audit in 2009.

“The moment you start working regularly [in the city], the city finance people come after you,” Baldwin recently told an audience at City College.  Neither Baldwin nor tax officials would discuss his case with the Daily News.

[...]

Such audits require taxpayers to assemble an arsenal of documents – credit card receipts, bank, telephone and computer records – to prove where they were on specific days. Auditors grill taxpayers on where their children go to school and where their doctors and clergy are located. They also comb through records looking for parking tickets or rental agreements that may show the filer is fibbing about spending 183 days or fewer in the city.

Paul Caron smells hypocrisy:

Consider what Baldwin wrote in the Huffington Post four years ago in a piece he titled Tax Cuts and the Republican Legacy:

These tax cuts are not only to make Bush’s wealthiest supporters richer, they are intended to hurt less powerful Americans by killing many of the social programs they depend on. That is the legacy of this Republican-controlled Congress. To hurt those who aren’t wealthy enough to write Bush-Cheney a big check. I urge all Americans to keep that in mind during this election cycle. A Republican-controlled Congress is killing important social programs that we all depend on, so that Bush’s friends can avoid paying a reasonable share of their taxes. ….

So, according to the News, Baldwin might be claiming residency in the Hamptons to evade New York City taxes. But four years ago, the “30 Rock” star encouraged people to give generously to Democrats in the midterm elections so that Republicans could be ousted from Congress and taxes raised.

Glenn Reynolds files this under “Taxes Are For The Little People.”

Now, while I think Baldwin is a fine actor, I disagree with his politics and find him to be something of a schmuck in his public appearances.  But there’s nothing inherently contradictory in thinking rich people ought to pay high taxes, that the poor should get generous public services funded by said taxes, and yet take legal steps to minimize one’s own tax burden.

Further, nothing has been proven here — the city is merely engaged in a fishing expedition to see if it can shake loose more money.   I haven’t the foggiest idea where Baldwin sleeps at night, much less where he gets his teeth cleaned.  But it’s completely plausible to me that he shoots 21 or 22 episodes of “30 Rock” a week in Manhattan and spends most weekends and the rest of the year elsewhere.  The Hamptons are, after all, in New York state, less than a 2 hour drive away.

Additionally, while reasonable measures are appropriate to deal with tax cheats, it strikes me as ridiculous that someone would be asked to prove — well after the fact — where they were every day of the year by producing receipts.  Absent extraordinary probable cause, why would local auditors be entitled to phone and banking records?

As to banking and doctor visits, I’ve long done those sorts of things near my office, on the theory that those establishments are mostly open during hours when I’m working.   I routinely “bank” at the ATM in front of my office and my dentist is in Arlington, on my way in to work.   But I don’t live in either DC or Arlington.

Related Posts:

About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. jpe says:

    He’s not being charged w/ tax evasion and he’s not facing tax charges; he’s just being audited. Lots of people get audited on this same issue. (believe me, I know: I do taxes in NYC)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. Franklin says:

    Now, while I think Baldwin is a fine actor, I disagree with his politics and find him to be something of a schmuck in his public appearances. But there’s nothing inherently contradictory in thinking rich people ought to pay high taxes, that the poor should get generous public services funded by said taxes, and yet take legal steps to minimize one’s own tax burden.

    Further, nothing has been proven here — the city is merely engaged in a fishing expedition to see if it can shake loose more money.

    I think this section summarizes this story perfectly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. Dave Schuler says:

    But there’s nothing inherently contradictory in thinking rich people ought to pay high taxes, that the poor should get generous public services funded by said taxes, and yet take legal steps to minimize one’s own tax burden.

    I don’t think it’s quite as clear-cut as that. It may well be contradictory. If one advocates a strategy of taxing “the rich” to fund “generous public services” for “the poor” (I’m beginning to get quotation mark fatigue) and your definition of “the rich” is sufficiently constrained, the amount of money that can be obtained might not be enough to pay for the services you advocate. That would be contradictory.

    Further, believing that it’s not okay for the rich to pay low taxes but believing it’s okay for the rich to take steps to avoid paying high taxes is contradictory, too.

    The distinction I’m trying to make (too clumsily I’m afraid) is between tax rates and effective tax rates. If you believe that the rich, etc. then you must also believe that the effective tax rate on the rich should be adequate to pay for the things you advocate. How can that happen if the rich can exploit the rules to keep their effective tax rates low?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. IP727 says:

    The limousine libs like baldwin are the biggest hypocrites all when dealing with the class warfare issue.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. tom p says:

    >>>How can that happen if the rich can exploit the rules to keep their effective tax rates low?<<<

    Dave, how does one exploit the rules by playing by them?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. Drew says:

    Welcome to the party, Alec. I was audited by NY a couple years ago, even though I was not then, nor have I ever been a resident of NY. I lived in Connecticut.

    I had the naive notion that I’d just show the legal docs associated with my housing transactions and that would be it. Ha! Several thousand dollars for the accountants to fix this with tha taxing authorities later……………….and NY said “sorry, never mind.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. Jay Tea says:

    I have to wonder what Baldwin’s opinion was — if any — when the city did pretty much the same thing to Rush Limbaugh, leading him to just up and leave the city.

    J.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. Dave Schuler says:

    tom p:

    The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. mantis says:

    Further, believing that it’s not okay for the rich to pay low taxes but believing it’s okay for the rich to take steps to avoid paying high taxes is contradictory, too.

    Depends on what you mean by “high” and “low.” I’ll bet Baldwin’s taxes, regardless of where he files, would be considered on the “high” side by most (at least in absolute terms).

    I have to wonder what Baldwin’s opinion was — if any — when the city did pretty much the same thing to Rush Limbaugh, leading him to just up and leave the city.

    Good riddance, jackass? New York has enough drug fiends.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  10. James Joyner says:

    Dave and Mantis:

    Fair enough. But, presumably, the Hamptons have high taxes, too. Although, presumably, fewer poor people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. mantis says:

    But, presumably, the Hamptons have high taxes, too. Although, presumably, fewer poor people.

    True enough. But does that mean that anyone who advocates for public services for the poor must pay taxes where there are more poor people, regardless of where that person lives?

    I live just outside the city limits of Chicago. I work in the city and spend more time in the city than I do in the town where I live. Does this mean I shouldn’t have an opinion about social services in the city proper? Like Baldwin surely does in New York City, I pay a number of different taxes that benefit Chicago (Cook County property taxes, income taxes, and sales taxes, Chicago city sales tax, etc.).

    Granted, i don’t have more than one residence, so the analogy isn’t perfect, but is still quite similar (assuming, for the sake of argument, that Baldwin legitimately spends more time in the Hamptons, and isn’t just choosing the lower tax rate). I have a great deal of opinions about what goes on in Chicago, as it affects my work and my daily life, but I don’t pay income tax to the city. Should I not?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  12. Jay Tea says:

    True enough, mantis. They’re much better off with Charlie Rangel taking four rent-controlled apartments for himself, cheating on his taxes, and whatnot.

    And Anthony Weiner, for that matter.

    And you got any proof Limbaugh’s still using? Or don’t you believe people can get over addictions?

    J.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. mantis says:

    And you got any proof Limbaugh’s still using?

    Yes, I’ve got the photos right here on my phone! You sure are a prig, aren’t you?

    Or don’t you believe people can get over addictions?

    I certainly do believe people can overcome their addictions. I also believe that asshole radio personalities who demonize drug users for years and illegally abuse drugs themselves, deserve to be ridiculed at every opportunity.

    And so if people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up.
    - Rush Limbaugh

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. James Joyner says:

    @Drew: That’s really where I am with all this. I think government has a legitimate interest in going after tax cheats. But the burden ought to be on them to prove the cheating, not on the accused to prove that they’re on the up-and-up. Citizens shouldn’t have to spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars and ridiculous amounts of their time to prove that they’re honest.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. Jay Tea says:

    Of course, mantis, it’s worth noting (your entertaining diversion aside) is that Limbaugh’s departure wasn’t cheered because of his issues with painkillers and back injuries, but his politics. The city decided, collectively, that his contributions to their tax revenues were less important than showing the world they didn’t like him.

    I suspect he misses the city less than they miss his money.

    J.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. JKB says:

    Look, he works in the city, he has a residence in the city, he spends time in the city, it is reasonable to ask him to document that he does not meet the residency law. In some states, it is simply the number of days you work in the state. Apparently here, they are looking at where he sleeps, his kids go to school, and conducts household business.

    Does anyone really believe he is commuting to the Hamptons in the off-season?

    And if he is commuting, then I don’t want to hear him running on about global warming or foreign oil when he has a residence, very nice by NYC standards, right in town.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. Davebo says:

    The city decided, collectively, that his contributions to their tax revenues were less important than showing the world they didn’t like him.

    Huh? The city, collectively or otherwise couldn’t care less.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  18. James Joyner says:

    it is reasonable to ask him to document that he does not meet the residency law.

    Why? Lots of us live in places different than where we work. Goodly numbers of those employed in NYC commute to Connecticut. The burden of proof should be on the city, not him.

    Does anyone really believe he is commuting to the Hamptons in the off-season?

    It’s a 90 minute drive. It’s where the super rich go to summer. Why is it hard to believe that he lives there several months out of the year and, in conjunction with weekends, spends more time there, his LA pad, and vacation resorts than he does in his Manhattan apartment?

    And if he is commuting, then I don’t want to hear him running on about global warming or foreign oil when he has a residence, very nice by NYC standards, right in town.

    Well, fair enough. But lots of rich people burn more fossil fuels than ordinary Joes. That doesn’t necessarily preclude wanting government solutions to global problems.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. jpe says:

    Why? Lots of us live in places different than where we work.

    The question here, though, is whether he lives in the Hamptons as claimed or in NYC where he has a residence. They have reasonable grounds to think he may be: he has a place of abode here and spends quite a bit of time here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. James Joyner says:

    But he has two other abodes where he spends quite a bit of time. From whence does he file his federal income taxes?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. jwest says:

    It is a wonder why anyone who can live wherever they want would choose to stay in NYC. Limbaugh saves over 8 million a year in state and city income taxes by being a Florida resident, and probably a significant amount on property taxes since he sold his condo.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. sam says:

    “It is a wonder why anyone who can live wherever they want would choose to stay in NYC. ”

    Don’t be stupid.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  23. george says:

    > Well, fair enough. But lots of rich people burn more fossil fuels than ordinary Joes. That doesn’t necessarily preclude wanting government solutions to global problems.

    Except when those government solutions take the form of acts that would hamper the poor but not effect the rich. Depends upon what they’re suggesting.

    In many cases, you get such people advocating people take more public transport instead of driving, driving smaller cars (all of which are good ideas) … all while flying around in their own private jets (burning more fossil fuels in one flight than most individuals in a year of driving their SUV). And its hard not to read such a thing and not believe they’re being hypocrites.

    I think what gets people about these sort of things is that it very much seems to be a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ thing. Bono of U2 ran into the same thing when U2 pulled out of Ireland to avoid high taxes … while he was chastising the Irish gov’t for not spending more money on various overseas causes. Saying ‘spend more money on this cause, just not mine’ rubs people the wrong way.

    On the other hand, there is no lack of hypocrites in all parties. Look at all the ‘family’ value people and their scandals, or pro foreign intervention people who went out of their way to avoid military service in their youth. There may be rational reasons for doing such, but the message is really ‘everyone look out for number one and screw the rest’.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  24. jpe says:

    But he has two other abodes where he spends quite a bit of time.

    From where NYC sits, it doesn’t matter. If he has a NYC apt. and steps foot in the city 183 days in a calendar year, he’s a statutory NYC resident. (the upshot of which is that people can easily get double-taxed)

    If he had a half competent attorney or CPA, though, he’ll have pretty detailed records of his travels. Whenever someone has a NYC apartment and works in the city or spends any amount of time there, it’s a huge red flag to advise the client to document everything and be wary of the 183-day threshold.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. Drew says:

    James -

    “I think government has a legitimate interest in going after tax cheats.”

    Absolutely. But no one (and if I correctly understand Dave’s comments I’m disappointed) should be critical of any actions taken within the law to minimize one’s tax burden.

    “But the burden ought to be on them to prove the cheating, not on the accused to prove that they’re on the up-and-up. Citizens shouldn’t have to spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars and ridiculous amounts of their time to prove that they’re honest.”

    Again, absolutely. That said, welcome to the world under Obama. I recently made my January estimated payments. (With no bragging intended; just expository on the state of the world today) These payments totalled just under 7 figures. And I instructed my accountants to get slightly over-accrued what with the current environment and the negligable time value of money. I asked them: “are we in safe harbor?” Answer: “Yes, but with numbers these big you have an audit bulls-eye on your back.” Me: “But I’m over-accrued. I’m actually loaning them money.” Response: “Look, I didn’t vote for the guy.”

    I often laugh at the naivete on these forums from people who have absolutely no clue how things have changed for the worse under this administration, whether it be regulatory, audit activity, cost to employ etc.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  26. Drew, as we have noted before, I’m guessing few of them actually own a business or have to meet a payroll. Better to keep one’s cherished myths I suppose.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. jwest says:

    Sam,

    Enlighten me. What’s the attraction?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  28. sam says:

    What’s the attraction? Well, for starters, other than world class restaurants, museums, musical venues, interesting neighborhoods, people from every country on the planet (with joints serving their food and music), and the most electric environment I’ve ever been in in my life, not much I guess.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  29. wr says:

    jwest – If you have to ask, you’ll never understand.

    For some people, living in a city like New York is worth paying a fraction of their hundred million dollar a year income. For Rush, not so much. I guess he needs that extra 8 mil to pay off his multiple ex-wives, the housekeeper he extorted into obtaining drugs for him, and the lawyers who gamed the system to get him off for crimes that would have sent a poor black guy away for life — with Rush cheering all the way.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  30. sam says:

    @Drew

    “I recently made my January estimated payments. (With no bragging intended; just expository on the state of the world today) These payments totalled just under 7 figures….

    I often laugh at the naivete on these forums from people who have absolutely no clue how things have changed for the worse under this administration, whether it be regulatory, audit activity, cost to employ etc.”

    Cue world’s smallest violin playing, “Stop it. You’re breaking my heart with your story.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  31. jpe says:

    Enlighten me. What’s the attraction?

    You probably see a lot of people wearing polo shirts tucked in to pleated jeans. I don’t.

    I think that’s checkmate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  32. anjin-san says:

    > audit activity,

    Aside from your accountant not liking Obama, do you have any proof of audits being up while he is in office? Especially audits targeting high net worth individuals?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. anjin-san says:

    > jwest – If you have to ask, you’ll never understand.

    Got that right. What’s the attraction of the greatest city in the world? I just can’t imagine…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  34. c.red says:

    Other than saying I agree with James Joyner across the board on this one and noting Mr. Baldwin probably has a lawyer and accountant who should easily deal with this (unless there is something shady actually going on, in which case this is exactly what should happen.)

    I’m just amazed at how quickly this became a partisan bitch fest. Rather than everyone agreeing this is some sort of government overreach, which I think everyone on this board is against, it became about Alec Baldwin’s charcter, because he is an outspoken liberal.

    It is even been brought around to being the Obama administrations fault. Drew, you have covered your taxes like as an honest citizen should. Your accountant has made sure you have done so legally, which is his job, but warns because of the size of your contribution the government is likely to check out the math, which if your accountant is competent will not be a problem. Where is the problem here?

    I guess it could be taken as some sort of insult that you might cheat, but don’t you have people that check the work of employees to make certain they are doing what they say, like say an accountant? Do you consider that an insult to your employees?

    Would you rather the government did not check for cheats and thereby allow someone that was dishonest gain (indirectly) an advantage over you?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  35. mantis says:

    The city decided, collectively, that his contributions to their tax revenues were less important than showing the world they didn’t like him.

    Gotta love the wingnut persecution complex. No, Jay, New York City did not raise taxes just because they didn’t like Rush Limbaugh, one among 8+ million other residents.

    I suspect he misses the city less than they miss his money.

    I’m pretty sure Manhattan has a couple more rich people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  36. Franklin says:

    How can that happen if the rich can exploit the rules to keep their effective tax rates low?

    I’m not sure where you’re drawing the line at what ‘exploiting’ the rules means. If I calculate my wife’s and my taxes as both jointly and not and file the lesser of the two methods, am I exploiting the rules? If so, what’s the suggestion for how to proceed?

    We don’t really have any evidence that Baldwin is or is not intentionally dodging taxes here. It could be that he simply prefers to spend time in the Hamptons, or on the other hand it could be he sits there everyday marking off his calendar and when it gets to 182.499 days, he skips out of NYC, just to avoid the taxes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  37. c.red says:

    And my grammar could not have been worse on the above post. I apologize all, I was in a hurry.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  38. jwest says:

    “jwest – If you have to ask, you’ll never understand.”

    You might be right. I’ve never understood the draw of NYC.

    On the other hand, I wonder if the NYC boosters have ever looked outside of their city. My wife and I live half the year in a small town/rural setting and the other half in the Palermo Soho district of Buenos Aires.

    World-class restaurants, entertainment, shopping, all cultures and you don’t feel like you’ve been gang raped by the price of a coffee and bagel.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  39. anjin-san says:

    > I wonder if the NYC boosters have ever looked outside of their city.

    Well, I live just outside San Francisco, but love NYC & go every chance I get. Luckily, I get paid to make the trip sometimes. The cost of living in the bay area is just as bad, but it is the dead of winter and it is stunningly beautiful outside at the moment. Just one reason I am happy to deal with the high cost of living here.

    I am sure Buenos Aires is a fine city, but there is only one New York. The cost may not be worth it to you, but that does not mean it is not worth it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  40. Drew says:

    sam -

    I expected more from you. That was intellectually light. If I was a harrassed black man would you have qued the world’s smallest violin just because I had wealth? I think not.

    anjin-san –

    I’m sorry you travel in less sophisticated circles. Audit activity is up across the board. Its a well known fact. Setting aside personal returns, which are under fire, for the first time in my memory about 2/3rds of our portfolio companies have been audited. We are talking companies whose tax work is done by Deloitte and McGladrey. Squeaky clean. And so far, not one finding from the IRS. But the costs and hassles are there. A dead weight loss to business, for no damned good reason other than fishing to finance profligate govt spending.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  41. tom p says:

    <<>>

    Thanx for the quote Dave, but maybe I am just a little dense. How does that explain your position on how people following the rules are actually “exploiting” them?

    I follow the rules, does that mean I am exploiting them?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  42. jwest says:

    Anjin-san,

    I didn’t mean to say I avoid NYC like the plague, we still go there on occasion, just that I can’t see the benefit of living there.

    At some point, the cost/benefit ratio kicks in and people come out of the aura-induced ether realizing they could live much better elsewhere.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  43. Drew says:

    pretty dumb, c. red -

    “Drew, you have covered your taxes like as an honest citizen should. Your accountant has made sure you have done so legally, which is his job, but warns because of the size of your contribution the government is likely to check out the math, which if your accountant is competent will not be a problem. Where is the problem here?”

    Did you read what I posted? I was audited, at the cost of thousands of dollars in accts costs, because the state of NY was too stupid/incompetant to a) verify that I had never been a NY resident and b) when presented with obvious housing documentation as to my CT residency push forward with just what James had pointed out: bank records, gas receipts (anyone keep gas reciepts???) utility bills etc. It was absurd on its face.

    And then we had sam come in with a pathetic “tough shit, you’re rich.” So much for the rule of law, or probable cause……..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  44. sam says:

    @Drew

    sam -

    “I expected more from you. That was intellectually light. If I was a harrassed black man would you have qued the world’s smallest violin just because I had wealth? I think not.”

    Ah Drew, for Christ’s sake, here we’re in the worst recession since the Depression, millions are out of work, millions have lost their homes or live in dread of losing there homes, and you post something that says:

    ” I recently made my January estimated payments. … These payments totalled just under 7 figures.”

    And then you end up telling us how bad things are for you. Do you have any idea, any idea at all, just how fatuous that is? C’mon, guy. Are you really that insensitive?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  45. mantis says:

    Again, absolutely. That said, welcome to the world under Obama. I recently made my January estimated payments. (With no bragging intended; just expository on the state of the world today) These payments totalled just under 7 figures. And I instructed my accountants to get slightly over-accrued what with the current environment and the negligable time value of money. I asked them: “are we in safe harbor?” Answer: “Yes, but with numbers these big you have an audit bulls-eye on your back.” Me: “But I’m over-accrued. I’m actually loaning them money.” Response: “Look, I didn’t vote for the guy.”

    I often laugh at the naivete on these forums from people who have absolutely no clue how things have changed for the worse under this administration, whether it be regulatory, audit activity, cost to employ etc.

    So enlighten us, would you? I notice all you’ve really shared is the opinion of an accountant that you could be targeted for an audit. That’s it. So tell us how Obama has changed everything for the worse for you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  46. tom p says:

    <<<>>>

    Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. Poor baby….

    <<>>

    I am often incensed at the stupidity of the really rich who think they have even the vaguest clue of what the world is really like. You don’t.

    “Drew, as we have noted before, I’m guessing few of them actually own a business or have to meet a payroll. Better to keep one’s cherished myths I suppose.”

    Charles, please do us all a favor and just take your “cherished myths” and go Galt.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  47. tom p says:

    that was weird, don’t know where the italics came from (wish I did, I would use them more)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  48. anjin-san says:

    Sorry Drew, but a sophisticate would not say something like “it is a well known fact” and expect that statement to be taken at face value. It’s actually kind of a hillbilly argument. Especially considering how much of your factual universe flows from Fox News. It takes more that a good sound system and an ’05 Bordeaux to make one sophisticated. Instead of patting yourself on the back for being such a groovy guy, why not simply provide a link or two supporting your position from a credible source?

    If audits are indeed up, what was the starting point for the increased activity? Was it indeed under Obama, or does it go back to Bush when the problems of profligate govt. spending and inadequate revenues existed as well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  49. mantis says:

    Audit activity is up across the board.

    Yeah, well, there’s a lot of fraud that the previous administration didn’t care about.

    We are talking companies whose tax work is done by Deloitte and McGladrey. Squeaky clean.

    Gee, I seem to remember a big company whose work was done by “squeaky clean” Arthur Andersen. What was it called again? Oh yeah, Enron. Guess they should have been left alone too.

    A dead weight loss to business, for no damned good reason other than fishing to finance profligate govt spending.

    I have a good reason. Hundreds of billions of dollars of taxes fraudulently evaded by corporations.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  50. anjin-san says:

    Drew I want to amend my remarks. You have a GREAT sound system, and I wish you many happy hours of listening. I have a couple of Audience E power cords on the way, they may even show up this afternoon.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  51. Drew says:

    sam -

    “Ah Drew, for Christ’s sake, here we’re in the worst recession since the Depression, millions are out of work, millions have lost their homes or live in dread of losing there homes, and you post something that says:

    ” I recently made my January estimated payments. … These payments totalled just under 7 figures.”

    And then you end up telling us how bad things are for you. Do you have any idea, any idea at all, just how fatuous that is? C’mon, guy. Are you really that insensitive.”

    Nice emotional, but intellectually devoid, plea. Do you have any regard for the rule of law, government abuse of power? Do we suspend those notions today? In ObamaWorld? Is that really your position?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  52. Drew says:

    sam -

    “And then you end up telling us how bad things are for you. Do you have any idea, any idea at all, just how fatuous that is? C’mon, guy. Are you really that insensitive.”

    Sam, don’t twist my words. I did not say “things are bad for me.” I said I was subjected to completely unwarranted, and costly, abuse by governmental authorities. It could have been anyone; but now it seems to be the well off. Nixonian, really. Is this your worldview, that in hard economic times we suspend rights? That economic status can suspend those rights? Is that really your position?

    anjin-san -

    “It’s actually kind of a hillbilly argument. Especially considering how much of your factual universe flows from Fox News. It takes more that a good sound system and an ’05 Bordeaux to make one sophisticated. Instead of patting yourself on the back for being such a groovy guy, why not simply provide a link or two supporting your position from a credible source?

    If audits are indeed up, what was the starting point for the increased activity? Was it indeed under Obama, or does it go back to Bush when the problems……………….”

    Hold on, let me scratch my belly, burp, and spit out my chaw……….Oh, and I almost never watch Fox news, maybe 5 nights a year. (BTW – I watch more MSNBC – for the entertainment.) Look, a-j, you may be too lazy to find the facts; you may not care. Fine. But in my business we have very sophisticated NY and Wash DC counsel who keep us abreast of developments in each of the areas I cited. Its an important part of our business. You may pull the high school debating techniques if it makes you feel better. But for anyone other than me on these forums who knows what’s going on you are showing yourself to be ignorant of the facts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  53. sam says:

    “I often laugh at the naivete on these forums from people who have absolutely no clue how things have changed for the worse under this administration, whether it be regulatory, audit activity, cost to employ etc.”

    How bad could it be if your quarterlies are in the seven figures?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  54. Drew says:

    a-j -

    PS: enjoy the Audience E. I have to confess that when it comes to power conditioning I still find myself partial to all things Shunyata.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  55. anjin-san says:

    > But in my business we have very sophisticated NY and Wash DC counsel who keep us abreast of developments in each of the areas I cited.

    I am sure you do. But that hardly gives you a corner on the sophistication market. You introducing that to the discussion is simply a bogus tactic. Kind of a high school thing actually. My professional life does not cross over into accounting. I do get paid to do some interesting things, mostly in the creative arena, though I am involved in special projects in other areas.

    Your assumption that anyone who lacks expertise in your areas of focus is a bumpkin is simply, well, unsophisticated. Sorry. Instead of getting snotty, why not share some actual information on topic you have expertise in? I am not too lazy to seek facts, I enjoy research, but I am busy, and this is an area of fairly minor interest to me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  56. Drew says:

    sam -

    Have you never read anything I’ve posted here? I think you have. Therefore I think you are being disingenuous.

    When it comes to the effects of govt intervention in business I have almost 99% of the time made it very clear that my primary concerns are with – as I usually put it – “The Little Guy, or The Average Joe. It is very difficult for government to “hurt” me, or people like me. (Similarly, James initial blog topic is not likely to “hurt” Baldwin. And my experience did not “hurt” me. But that doesn’t make it right. You are on a very slippery philosophical and intellectual slope once you decide that economic attributes void common freedom from government abuse, sam.)

    The current administration has made it clear its open season on the economically well off (to moronic cheering from the left, including some particularly moronic folks on this forum) without considering the knock on effects for, well, the Average Joe. Witness: 9.4% unemployment.

    I’m sure its not properly attributed, but it makes it no less true: Lincoln is supposed to have said: “you cannot help the poor by harming the rich.” The sooner the left could learn that the inverse to their invective about greed, which is their obvious envy, the better off everyone would be.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  57. anjin-san says:

    > Shunyata.

    Great stuff. Have you ever checked out IsoClean? Crazy good, beautiful build quality.

    http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/isoclean/isoclean.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  58. anjin-san says:

    > The current administration has made it clear its open season on the economically well off (to moronic cheering from the left, including some particularly moronic folks on this forum) without considering the knock on effects for, well, the Average Joe. Witness: 9.4% unemployment.

    Unemployment was what, an 8.1 when Obama took office? Bush took office with unemployment somewhere around 4% a rate that doubled during his tenure. I don’t think anyone is arguing that Bush was not sensitive to the concerns of the rich. It is also safe to say that while Bush took office with some economic problems coming across his desk, it was nothing like the shitstorm Obama inherited.

    I certainly have no desire to target the wealthy, a lot of my friends and business associates all into that category, and we are in a pretty high income bracket (though certainly not “wealthy”).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  59. Drew says:

    a-j -

    You are being needlessly, and I suspect intentionally, dense. Information like this is proprietary; that’s why we pay these people large hourly sums. They have connections; they have access. It doesn’t get printed in the Daily Gazette, although it does show up from time to time in prprietary legal bulletins/marketing pieces. If you have an ounce of sophistication – and I think you do – you would stop this silly game of “prove it” and actually ponder the issue and the problem. Its a serious issue and serious people are dealing with it at this very moment.

    PS – confidentiality precludes me from the details, but I literally sat with FTC lawyers and economists in Washington arguing the merits of an M&A transaction only to be told that although “your arguments are pursuasive, the current (Obama) environment precludes me from not filing a second request.” True story.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  60. wr says:

    Drew — The last few decades have seen an enormous transfer of wealth from the working class to the very rich, thus proving that you CAN help the rich by harming the poor. If the Obama administration is a taking a few steps to reverse the flow of both money and power to the top one percent, then I’m all in favor of it. You may call me a bumpkin, if that gets you your jollies, but if so I’m a bumpkin with little interest in seeing this country turn into Chile circa 1970.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  61. Drew says:

    wr -

    Please explain the mechanism by which that wealth transfer occurred. Please be very specific. Were they robbed? Were there tax transfers? Was anything done in an involuntary transaction? Also, what policy recomendations do you suggest to rectify wealth distribution.

    Again, please be very specific. In particular, do you have a solution that does not involve confiscation of personal property?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  62. Drew says:

    a-j -

    I’ll check it out. I do not know the brand.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  63. anjin-san says:

    > Information like this is proprietary;

    Drew you are over complicating this, and we are both presenting a classic study of letting partisanship interfere with productive discourse. I am not asking for proprietary/confidential information, which obviously, you can’t disclose. How about a nudge in the right direction? This is a serious topic, help me to understand it a little better.

    I like Obama, and I am glad that he and not McCain is the President. However, I don’t think the sun shines out of his ass, and I have no doubt that some of his policies are doing more harm than good. His lack of a business orientation has raised issues, the good news is that he seems to be addressing that as he moves into the second half of his term.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  64. anjin-san says:

    > Please explain the mechanism by which that wealth transfer occurred.

    My sense that it is more a case of history trying to reassert its normal course, in which a very small percentage of the population owns pretty much everything. The post WW2 explosion of wealth and opportunity for a rapidly growing middle class in this country was something of a historical anomaly. Part of the economic turmoil we are experiencing is simply the post WW2 world coming to and end, and becoming whatever it is going to be.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  65. IP727 says:

    Again, please be very specific. In particular, do you have a solution that does not involve confiscation of personal property?

    drew says:

    That is the bottom line for the class warfare collectivists of society. To assuage their guilt complexes, they would use the power of the state to redistribute the wealth .Robbing peter to pay paul will work for awhile, until peter decides to vote with his feet.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  66. wr says:

    Drew — Tax codes were rewritten to give more back to the rich. A decades-long war was waged against unions to destroy collective barganing. Worker pay froze while company assets were distributed to stockholders and bankers, because less powerful non-unionized workers could not negotiate fairly. Companies were bought and their pension plans looted, the cash divvied up among stockholders, while workers were cheated out of promised wages. Hedge funds bought up functioning companies, loading them with debt, forcing them to fire workers or slash benefits while the new and old owners and the banks that arranged the deal cashed in.

    Was it “confiscating private property” when corporations were forced to bargain as equals with employee unions instead of throwing out nickels to the non-unionized workforce? Oh, wait, I’m sure you think it is. Because the only property that matters is that which belongs to rich people. The workers should be happy with whatever crumbs they get.

    As for IP, you may slavishly worship investment bankers so much that you’re terrified that if you’re not nice enough to them, they’ll go away. I say they’re parasites who have destroyed the world’s economy and want to be praised for it. And you are their lapdog.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  67. IP727 says:

    As for IP, you may slavishly worship investment bankers so much that you’re terrified that if you’re not nice enough to them, they’ll go away. I say they’re parasites who have destroyed the world’s economy and want to be praised for it. And you are their lapdog
    WR

    Speaking of dogs,you have that pavlovian marxist dialectic nonsense down pat.
    You need to be stuffed and mounted in the Smithsonian for future generations to marvel at.
    Orwell would be proud of you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  68. anjin-san says:

    > That is the bottom line for the class warfare collectivists of society.

    Sorry, you are not smart enough to stay here. Thanks for playing. Have a nice day.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  69. michael reynolds says:

    Agree that the burden should be on the government.

    Agree that if he owes he should pay, as should we all.

    Agree that New York City seems to be doing just fine without Limbaugh.

    Doubt Limbaugh’s clean: it’s about playing the odds. Junkies almost never get clean on their first rehab.

    Still can’t believe a grown man like Drew takes that Ayn Rand bullshit seriously. It’s like meeting a 12 year old who still believes in Santa Claus. You don’t know whether to laugh derisively or just say, “Awww, that’s cute.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  70. IP727 says:

    anjin-san says:
    Tuesday, January 25, 2011 at 17:02
    >
    Sorry, you are not smart enough to stay here. Thanks for playing. Have a nice day.

    Open rectum, insert head.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  71. sam says:

    “Still can’t believe a grown man like Drew takes that Ayn Rand bullshit seriously.”

    Well, in Drew’s defense, he hasn’t ever struck me as some kind of Galtian. I believe him when he says that his interests are in rescuing small companies and putting them on a firm foundation. If he makes money doing that, well and good. More power to him. He’s trying to do something valuable. My complaint with what he wrote is that it was insensitive. As for this:

    “[Drew writes] And my experience did not “hurt” me. But that doesn’t make it right. You are on a very slippery philosophical and intellectual slope once you decide that economic attributes void common freedom from government abuse, sam.”

    I think he’s read enough of what I’ve written here to know that I don’t believe anything like that at all. I don’t believe any American citizen should be subjected to abuse by the government. But I will say that it’s not clear at all to me that if a wealthy person gets audited, some form of injustice has been perpetrated, that some form of abuse had taken place.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  72. anjin-san says:

    > But I will say that it’s not clear at all to me that if a wealthy person gets audited, some form of injustice has been perpetrated, that some form of abuse had taken place.

    Certainly not any more so that if an average Joe is over billed by his medical provider, then engages their customer service department only to find that is is designed to stall him until he gives up and goes away, with a little dose of “don’t want to pay? fine, we will ruin your credit” thrown on top for insult.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  73. wr says:

    That’s good, IP — You’ve learned your Glen Beck lessons well. Never let anyone point out that the rich are getting richer while the middle class dwindles away into poverty. As soon as any facts begin to penetrate that skull, start screaming “Marxism! Socialism! Alinsky!” until you can’t hear anything else. You are an excellent little moron for your masters, and in your case, they really do deserve to take everything you own, because they really are your superiors…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  74. tom p says:

    >>>>Information like this is proprietary; that’s why we pay these people large hourly sums. They have connections; they have access. It doesn’t get printed in the Daily Gazette, although it does show up from time to time in prprietary legal bulletins/marketing pieces. If you have an ounce of sophistication – and I think you do – you would stop this silly game of “prove it” and actually ponder the issue and the problem. Its a serious issue and serious people are dealing with it at this very moment. <<<<

    OK Drew, I hacked up half a lung when I read this… ARE YOU FU**ING KIDDING ME?????

    "I know things you don't know because I know people you don't know and I pay them large sums of money but I can not answer pertinent questions, but if you were as sophisticated as I AM, and I am a serious person and serious people are dealing with this…."

    Drew, go fuck yourself and all your Galtian Brothers… You and yours are why we HAD to do TARP…

    Really, I can not beleive nobody else called you out on your fantasy.

    PS: Take your "confidentiality" and shove it up your ass.

    PSS:<<>>>

    Yes, we were.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  75. tom p says:

    My comment ended up in anti- spam. So rather than rewrite the whole damn thing, I will say only this:

    >>>>>You are being needlessly, and I suspect intentionally, dense. Information like this is proprietary; that’s why we pay these people large hourly sums. They have connections; they have access. It doesn’t get printed in the Daily Gazette, although it does show up from time to time in prprietary legal bulletins/marketing pieces. If you have an ounce of sophistication – and I think you do – you would stop this silly game of “prove it” and actually ponder the issue and the problem. Its a serious issue and serious people are dealing with it at this very moment. <<<<<<

    Let me translate:

    "I am so much better than you, I know things you could not POSSIBLY know because, well, I am rich, you are not, and I give them large amounts of money to tell me what I want them to, if you were as SOPHISTICATED as I am, you would not ask for proof, you would stand in awe of the question I have posed….

    "But, don't worry, I and all the other "serious" people are going to work this out."

    Drew…. Go f*** yourself. And take your butt buddy Charles with you.

    PS: I actually think this version works better.

    PSS: I cannot believe nobody else said this yet.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  76. tom p says:

    This is a record… I am still hanging around in a thread after the 50th post.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  77. IP727 says:

    tom p is a masochist.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  78. michael reynolds says:

    Sam:

    You haven’t read enough of Drew to hear the familiar whine of Galtian self-pity. Give it a while, you’ll see. It’s not enough to be rich and self-centered, they must also be admired.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  79. G.A.Phillips says:

    ***And then you end up telling us how bad things are for you. Do you have any idea, any idea at all, just how fatuous that is? C’mon, guy. Are you really that insensitive?***Now how many of you people who comment or read here are poor or are even close to being poor. lol……

    I’m sure that I am the closest, and I feel bad about the money Drew had to waste and the dumb pointless crap he was forced to put up with.

    C’mon, dude.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  80. tom p says:

    “tom p is a masochist.”

    Yes…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  81. G.A.Phillips says:

    spam filtered, bootybootybooty……..

    Who here is poor? was my point.

    um who I wonder, who is even close, I wondered again……..

    Keep creating and saving jobs Drew, And keep fighting against the man!!!

    Pay no attention to the wannabe poverty pimps behind the puter screen……

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  82. tom p says:

    >>>>You haven’t read enough of Drew to hear the familiar whine of Galtian self-pity. <<<<

    What MR said, only with a whole lot more detail.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  83. tom p says:

    “Keep creating and saving jobs Drew, And keep fighting against the man!!!”

    GA… do you really think that Drew would not eliminate one of those jobs he “created” if it would not increase his profit margin????

    And which man is he fighting against???? Himself??????????????

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  84. G.A.Phillips says:

    No and after reading him for years, I would love to work for someone like him, who actually gives a poop and knows how to run a business and save and create jobs .

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  85. tom p says:

    >>>No <<<

    GA, read corporate law. You would be the first to go.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  86. anjin-san says:

    > it’s okay for the rich to take steps to avoid paying high taxes

    This is relative. I suspect Baldwin has a pretty high tax bill even when taking advantage of legal opportunities to reduce his tax liabilities. I don’t think he has to give the farm away keep his personal actions consistent with his stated political views.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  87. c.red says:

    “Again, absolutely. That said, welcome to the world under Obama. I recently made my January estimated payments. (With no bragging intended; just expository on the state of the world today) These payments totalled just under 7 figures. And I instructed my accountants to get slightly over-accrued what with the current environment and the negligable time value of money. I asked them: “are we in safe harbor?” Answer: “Yes, but with numbers these big you have an audit bulls-eye on your back.” Me: “But I’m over-accrued. I’m actually loaning them money.” Response: “Look, I didn’t vote for the guy.””

    “Did you read what I posted? I was audited, at the cost of thousands of dollars in accts costs, because the state of NY was too stupid/incompetant to a) verify that I had never been a NY resident and b) when presented with obvious housing documentation as to my CT residency push forward with just what James had pointed out: bank records, gas receipts (anyone keep gas reciepts???) utility bills etc. It was absurd on its face.”

    Which are you complaining about some past audit by the City of New York or a possible future audit by the Federal Government? Either way why are you paying extra accounting costs for it? That is one of the basic functions of an accountant, so sounds like your accountant may be overcharging. Fraud happens, everyone can agree on that. Should the government look for it? I would say so, you seem to be against that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  88. c.red says:

    You don’t like paying taxes at all, I get that. It’s your money because you earned it, blah, blah blah… But you would have never had the opportunity to earn that money if the government wasn’t maintaining an orderly society, which costs money. The government asks you to contribute some of that money, but not all and not even half, you were able to earn towards maintaining that society. I’m guessing you couldn’t even be bothered to sue for damages in the NYC thing because the damages were less than the law suit would cost, and I’m also guessing that the cost of the audit was less than you make from associating with NYC, because you still seem to be doing business there. Sorry you were inconvenienced, welcome to life.

    You whining about a few thousand dollars of audit fees while bragging about bringing in seven figures really is crass. The closest analogies I can come up with are a farmer complaining about being out in the sun too much or a truck driver pissed getting cramps from sitting in a vehicle.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  89. anjin-san says:

    > involve confiscation of personal property?

    c.red has a good point. The government taxes us. We actually get a lot in return, in spite of waste, fraud and stupidity. The environment you came up and thrived in would simply not exist but for generations of taxpayers “having their wealth confiscated”.

    Because of the status quo in our country, I have a better life than almost anyone who has lived in the history of the world. I have to pay to help maintain that status quo. It’s worth it, at least to me. We already have enough human misery in this vastly wealthy society. I don’t want people dying in the streets. And I certainly don’t want the poor getting desperate to the point they are just angry and don’t give a shit any more and they start coming up to the good neighborhoods looking for blood.

    Yes i would like to hang on to more of my money and put a hot tub on the deck with it this year. But its going to taxes,and if some of it is “redistributed” I can live with that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0