IRS Guy Fits Right in at Football Game

I have the perfect kind of Friday story that zeros in on the bad behavior of one single IRS employee and, by implication, expects you to assume that he was somehow acting in his official capacity or that he is a fair representation of the IRS as a whole.  I realize that by discussing this story I am perpetuating these same stereotypes or outright falsehoods, but I do it tongue in cheek.  I know there are some good people at the IRS, and every walk of life is represented among its 89,000 employees.

On to the story.  29-year-old furloughed IRS employee, Stephen Sapp, was caught misbehaving at a Pittsburgh Steelers game this past Sunday.  I’ll stop right there for a second because I know some people don’t realize that you don’t have to be a boring, bean-counting stiff to work at the IRS (although I think it helps).  Newsflash: IRS employees like to have fun on the weekend just like everybody else.

Admittedly, it was a little hard for me to imagine an IRS-type at a Steelers game.  And if that was a surprise to you, then the rest of the details are going to blow your mind:

  1. at Steelers game
  2. drunk
  3. screaming and cursing
  4. throwing steel crowd dividers
  5. knocked a woman unconscious
  6. promptly arrested by authorities

You’re probably thinking, “they got the story wrong; there’s no way this was an IRS employee!”  But wait until you find out what he did after being arrested; it might change your mind.  Sapp told the police officers, “Listen, I know how this works. How much money will it take to make this go away and to let me go home today?”  THERE’S the IRS we all know and love!!  The irony of that statement is just too much!

IRS: The Raiders of Government Agencies

Usually when people are dressed in black surrounding a hole in a solemn ceremony, its a funeral.  But Tony Sparano, the interim head coach of the 0-4 Oakland Raiders, gathered the team for a special symbolic football burial this week.  He said that the football represented the first four games of the season.  The hope is that this little exercise will help the team to put it all behind them and move forward with a clean slate.

Maybe the IRS Commissioner, John Koskinen, should do something like this with his team.  I’m not sure what item(s) could be used to represent the past few years of missteps at the IRS, but to really drive the point home he would need to dig a hole the size of the Grand Canyon.  Actually, come to think of it, maybe they already did this exercise using Lois Lerner’s hard drive.  Nobody would ever consider that the IRS actually physically buried her emails in the ground.

Oakland Raiders vs. Internal Revenue Service.  Obviously the comparisons are unlimited given the fact that a Raider is actually a pirate, and a pirate is known for forcefully taking one’s hard-earned booty.  But I’ll leave this to your own imagination.

Football is Here!

Leave it to a lawyer to find interest in obscure rules . . . yes, even in football.  Official NFL rules require the following:

The home club shall have 36 balls for outdoor games and 24 for indoor games available for testing with a pressure gauge by the referee two hours prior to the starting time of the game to meet with League requirements. Twelve (12) new footballs, sealed in a special box and shipped by the manufacturer, will be opened in the officials’ locker room two hours prior to the starting time of the game. These balls are to be specially marked with the letter “k” and used exclusively for the kicking game.

Tonight I will try to loosen up and have fun instead of wondering about this “special sealed box” and whether  the balls have been properly pressure-tested at 12.5 to 13.5 pounds per square inch.

Jeter, the IRS, and some guy named Chris – a Tax Relief Perfect Storm

Baseball is full of tradition, and so is the IRS. The New York Yankees’ Captain Derek Jeter recently hit his 3,000th hit. A huge milestone in the game of baseball. Such trophies usually end up in the player’s shoebox, or in Cooperstown. However, in this case, Jeter’s 3,000th hit just happened to be a home run, and was caught by a “lucky” Yankees fan. Christian Lopez was the “lucky” Yankees fan who caught the ball and now needs a tax attorney and possibly even tax relief. After Lopez caught the landmark baseball, he gave the item of memorabilia to Jeter. Then, Jeter’s employer (the Yankees) then gave Lopez luxury seats for the remainder of the season and post-season, assuming the Yankees make the post-season, worth thousands of dollars. Based on Lopez’s windfall, whether categorized as a gift or as income, he’s likely going to have to pay the IRS something come April 2012. Lopez has indicated that if he does owe, his parents will help him out, which is fortunate. However, it would be a good public relations move for the Yankees to make an estimated tax payment on behalf of Lopez so his tax headaches can be avoided. Such is not unheard of in baseball circles, read the fine print for the San Francisco Giants World Series Ring Raffle. If would be wise for Lopez to review his options with a tax attorney, especially if his parents don’t foot the bill, or if the Yankees don’t step up to the plate.

IRS Crashes Party at Fiesta Bowl

The Fiesta Bowl is scrambling to avoid needing tax relief. The Fiesta Bowl, a non-profit organization, is facing Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scrutiny for giving elected officials expensive gifts since 2002, which may not have served the Fiesta Bowl’s tax-exempt purpose. Presently, the Fiesta Bowl, because of its non-profit status, does not have to pay federal or state income taxes. However, if such gifts were not in furtherance of the Fiesta Bowl’s tax-exempt purpose, the IRS may levy a fine or may revoke the Fiesta Bowl’s non-profit status. Therefore, the Fiesta Bowl is now seeking information from gift recipients that such gifts were indeed proper, or it is seeking a monetary reimbursement for its “gifts”. Fifteen elected officials have since amended their financial disclosure reports to reflect gifts received from the bowl.

IRS Seizes Super Bowl Ring

Even pro football players need tax relief from time to time. Fuzzy Thurston, former Green Bay Packers lineman, owes $1.7 million in back taxes and now the IRS is auctioning off his ring from Super Bowl II to help pay what he owes. His tax debt originated from a restaurant chain he started after his football career had ended. He failed to turn over payroll taxes he withheld from his employees income. Thurston also has a ring from Super Bowl I that the authorities are trying to track down. However, rings like his are worth a mere $20,000 – $30,000, so the IRS would have to locate about 50 such rings to bring him into full compliance.

Dodgers Bankruptcy

The Los Angeles Dodgers filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection today.  MLB Commissioner recently rejected a $3 billion deal with Fox that may have helped pull the club out of its $630 million in debt. The Commissioner did not approve the deal, saying it was self-serving for the Dodger’s owner and not in the best interest of the Dodgers or its fans. Some of the unsecured creditors are actually former players, including Manny Ramirez whom they owe nearly $21 million. According to Forbes, the Dodgers franchise is MLB’s third most valuable franchise, worth an estimated $800 million.

Even though the team insists that the bankruptcy will in no way affect the salaries and benefits of their players, it is hard to imagine that this won’t get in their heads and in some way affect their play. It certainly can’t help as they find themselves struggling with a winning percentage of .443 and 9.5 games behind the leading team in the NL West. By the way, who is that leading team?