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A 'Burning Legal Question' Answered Elsewhere

Apparently, my colleague Bruce doesn't have a monopoly on providing answers to the legal questions that are keeping blawg readers up at night.

I don't know what Bruce knows about tax law, but TaxGirl sure seems to have the skills to answer all your basic tax queries. And kind soul that she is, she welcomes them via e-mail. Today's question must have been on the minds of millions of people across the country, but one brave American had the guts to come out and ask it:

Taxpayer asks:

Hi taxgirl, I know this is a weird question but could the IRS take Sinbad's money from “Celebrity Apprentice” if he had won? He didn't win because he got fired. But I wanted to know. Thank you.

Ah, the old reality show winnings back taxes hypothetical. Classic. Pretty sure that was on my final exam back in the day.

I, like TaxGirl, had no idea Sinbad was on "Celebrity Apprentice," but was aware that the IRS had deemed him a naughty, naughty boy for his failure to pay taxes dating way back to 1998, or what I like to call the "Immediately post-Good Burger era."

TaxGirl says the IRS likely couldn't have reached "winnings" from the show, since they go straight from the Donald to the charity of the winner's choice, even though the last celeb standing gets the honor of presenting the check. However, any "appearance fee" Sinbad got for the show -- and he apparently gets one even though he lost -- would be ripe for the taking.

As for Sinbad, I don't know if it can be attributed to his IRS issues, but he apparently has already decided not to appear on "Dancing with the Stars." So there's one less source of funds to satisfy the lien.

Posted by Eric Lipman on March 23, 2010 at 01:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)


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