And the Oscar goes to… the IRS?
Sunday night’s Academy Award ceremony was a collection of pomp and pageantry as celebrities strutted expensive gowns, pricey jewelry and took home (taxable) awards and consolation prizes.
According to a Feb. 24 IRS-news.com article, the value of the bags is taxable income.
Nominees and presenters are gifted with consolation prizes by the Academy. Dubbed “Swag Bags,” the goodie bags are not your typical take-home fare – these extras are worth a whopping $50,000 each.
A 2006 agreement between the IRS and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences required that the value of the gifts be included as taxable income. Each recipient will receive a 1099-MISC tax statement and will be individually responsible for any taxes owed on the value of the gift.
Surprisingly, this year’s award show touts the lowest valued goodie bag in five years. Will celebrities notice the difference? Unlikely.
“I am confident that having a $48,000 gift bag vs. a $58,000 gift bag will go unnoticed by Amy Adams, Hugh Jackman and Jennifer Lawrence,” Lash Fary, founder of the marketing firm that handles the gift bags, told Today.com in an email.
Last year’s swag carried a price of $60,000. Included in the freebies were a $15,000 open-bar event sponsored by liquor company Disaronno, and a gift certificate to a plastic surgeon.
The 2010 consolation prize included an African Safari trip. The total of that year’s swag? $90,000.
So what was in this year’s swag bag? According to ABCnews, some of what celebrity Oscar “losers” took home included:
- A trip to Australia worth $12,000
- A trip to St. Regis Punta Mita Resort in Mexico worth $3,000
- Acupuncture appointments worth $600
- 10 personal training sessions valued at $850
- Circus lessons for the nominee’s children worth $400
- A $5,000 face-lift procedure
- A one-year membership to Heathrow Airport’s private VIP service worth $2,000
- A $795 water filtration system
- Diet food valued at $400
- A $200 custom candle package
The strangest of the perks has to be the “vampire facelift” procedure where blood is drawn and then returned to a patient’s face in order to plump up certain features.
Many of the recipients choose to donate their gift bags to qualified charities. In that way, they can avoid the tax hit, write off the value as a charitable contribution and come out looking ethically spiffy.
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