October 23, 2018

Entertainment expenses

Woman Insists She Didn’t Rip Off PwC Because She’s a Bad Person But to Hide the Fact That She Was Having an Affair with a Married Partner

When banging your boss, there are certain precautions one must take to ensure that the affair is not discovered. In the case of Angela Tilling, who was jailed for £33,000 in expenses fraud, she claimed “her behaviour was an attempt to prevent John Minard’s wife spotting suspicious payments on his credit card.” Mr. Minard admitted that he had sexual relations with that woman (that’s what I keep hearing in my head) but denied that they had “full intercourse.”

Of course smut isn’t the only part of this story. We learn that Angie reportedly “conned” P. Dubs into spending “£50,000 celebrity appearance at a Christmas party in a bid to boost her popularity,” among other expenses that weren’t kosher. You see, it appears that Angela wasn’t too good at making friends, so she threw around a bunch of the firm’s money so people would think she’s the bee’s knees.

“Some of the money was used to provide entertainment for others because what this lady craved was the respect of others.

“She liked to be the centre of attention, providing days and nights out. She is a lonely lady who bought the friendship and affection of people with whom she worked. It was not salted away for a rainy day.”

The court heard Tilling falsely claimed £2,183 expenses for a 47-head staff lunch at Birmingham’s Hotel Du Vin on December 7, 2004 and £2,146 for a company hotel conference in June 2005.

She blew a strict £25,000 budget when organising the company’s Christmas party on December 22, 2005, fraudulently transferring two £29,375 payments to cover a celebrity guest’s £50,000 appearance fee.

Tilling also falsely claimed a £15,000 payment by lying that she had paid the sum as a deposit to secure the guest, who the prosecution and booking agency refuse to name.

She was also paid a further £5,581.25 in bogus expenses on October 17, 2006 and £3,706 in June that year for Solihull College support staff.
In December 2007 she fraudulently claimed £2,225 for 60 theatre tickets at Birmingham’s Hippodrome – another company outing she organised.

It was all for love.

PricewaterhouseCoopers PA jailed over expenses fraud [Telegraph]

You Can Blame the Tax Code for Expensive Baseball Tickets

Since it’s opening day for baseball, there are probably a few of you (non-tax accountants) that are at the ballpark enjoying sun, overpriced beers and, if you’re lucky, some complimentary tickets on behalf of your firm.

If you happen to be shelling out your own hard-earned money however, you’re no doubt aware that price of your tickets continue to go up season after season. Throw in $9 beers and Brother Jimmy’s BBQ and you’ll spend a small grip just to enjoy a day of sport and no work.

What’s the cause of the skyrocketing cost of attending a baseball game, you ask? The tax code of course!


That’s according to an op-ed by two professors, Duke law professor Richard Schmalbeck and Rutgers business professor Jay Soled, in today’s Times.

There are many reasons for the price explosion, but a critical factor has been the ability of businesses to write off tickets as entertainment expenses — essentially a huge, and wholly unnecessary, government subsidy.

These deductions have led to higher ticket prices in two ways. On the demand side, they have fueled competition for scarce seats, with business taxpayers bidding in part with dollars they save through the deductions.

On the supply side, the large number of businesses bidding for expensive seats has driven the expansion of luxury skyboxes and a reduction in overall seats in new ballparks.

The authors note that baseball was, until the 1970s, a “populist sport” and fans of all economic classes could attend games for a reasonable cost. Those days are long gone and the professors blame the ability of corporations to deduct business-entertainment expenses as the culprit. They state that you not need look further than the opening of the new Yankee Stadium that has “3,000 fewer seats than its 1923 predecessor but almost three times as many skybox suites.”

The professors advocate a limit on deductions for on luxury tickets to a low fixed amount (e.g. $50). They cite the outright elimination as “unrealistic” but we can’t recall at time when “realistic” and “Congress” collided in a sentence.

We agree with our esteemed colleague at ATL that if you really want to stick it to the companies who take advantage of tax code’s generous provisions, just make skybox tickets non-deductible altogether.

As the authors note, Corporate America has a love affair with sports-related perks and we’d guess that eliminating the deduction would not stop them from buying luxury tickets. The client relation types in your firms know that there is an intangible value to wooing potential clients in some comfortable confines as opposed to cramped seating in the stands with the commoners.

Throw Out Skybox Tax Subsidies [NYT via ATL]