Swag has gone the way of the dodo
Fun item coming at you now courtesy of our special, fun-loving friends over at the IRS: If you’re a celebrity and you’ve ever attended any sort of awards ceremony where you received a gift bag full of shiny, expensive items, you are responsible for paying taxes on said gift bag; in fact, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences reached a settlement today to pay for the back taxes due on all the swag they’ve passed out through 2005, and — hold on to your free cell phones, everybody — they’re discontinuing all gift bags in the future. That’s right: According the IRS, “There’s no special red-carpet tax loophole for the stars,” and “movie stars face the same tax obligations as ordinary Americans.”
Say it with me now: Whaaaa?
Do you mean to say that all those Fred Segal gift certificates and spa visits and ski vacations and bars of gourmet chocolate embedded with chunky solid-gold nougat clusters count as — horrors — income? That it may be remotely possible that certain celebrities are only showing up at awards shows because of swag bags, and therefore swag bags could be considered payment for services rendered? That famous people are not, as I have long suspected, existing entirely outside the law kind of the way foreign diplomats get to park whereever they want to in New York City?
Dude, what the hell am I going to aspire to be now?
(P.S. My favorite part of this Variety article is where it talks about the “ripple effect” this is gonna have on other awards shows. Like the producers of this weekend’s Teen Choice Awards are in a boardroom somewhere right now hysterically debating what to do with the 1,800 pounds of Noxema products they ordered interns to stuff into American Eagle messenger bags, and whether or not the Olsen Twins are totally gonna ditch now…)