Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Professor Gates and the IRS 

TaxProf posts that a foundation created by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., has had a minor problem with the IRS, and amended its 2007 federal tax form. A bit of cash was made available to insiders, and resulting expenses are relatively high.

Looking at the house he rents from Harvard (Google Maps Street View here), it might be wise to remind Professor Gates that to the extent enjoys a below-market rent (a nice perq, that), the difference between the rent he pays and what he would otherwise pay in an arms-length market rate lease could be construed as taxable compensation, if I am not mistaken. The house on Ware Street in Cambridge near Harvard Square would have a fair market value of well over $1 million, perhaps over $2 million, and a commensurate rent rate would be at least $7,500 per month. If he holds classes there or maintains his official academic office there, that would help him -- it would not be treated the same as if it served solely as his residence, I believe.

CWCID: TaxProf, via Instapundit.


By Blogger Christopher Chambers, at Tue Jul 28, 09:33:00 PM:

I know, Gates is such a friggin criminal. Gotta keep these uppities from ruining everything.

Instapundit's such a great source of truth justice and the American way...right up there with Glenn Beck. ;-)  

By Blogger Trochilus, at Tue Jul 28, 09:56:00 PM:

And speaking of "Uppities" your readers (excepting, of course, my immediate predecessor on this thread) will no doubt get a big charge out of Iowahawk's hysterical parody of the recent events in Cambridge. Hat tip to John at Powerline, who calls it the funniest thing he has ever read on the web.  

By Blogger Purple Avenger, at Tue Jul 28, 11:00:00 PM:

Gotta keep these uppities from ruining everything.

Joe The Plumber's public rectal exam after he was "uppity" and "ruining everything" for Obama was well deserved though, right?

You seemed strangely silent when that guy was getting keel hauled.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jul 28, 11:11:00 PM:

From Link,

This is a bullshit attack on Prof Gates -- I agree with Mr Chambers on this point. From the little I know, Prof Gates is a serious and talented scholar. He's entitled to the accepted deferences and privileges that go with that. Like Sgt Crowley, he didn't start out wanting to create a teachable moment. They're both good people.

Anyone who's done a China trip in short time knows that you arrive home completely out of character -- even capable of kicking the family dog Prof Gates kicked the family dog. Would you let someone kick the family dog and not say something?

Further to the above, I'd hate to hear stories emerge of things like "Sgt Crowley is a part-time bartender off the tax books." It's amazing what MSM will print on us little people, while ignoring the whoppers on some of our residential candidates.

Link, over  

By Blogger Elijah, at Tue Jul 28, 11:43:00 PM:

Prof Gates is a serious and talented scholar.

He's entitled to the accepted deferences and privileges that go with that.

Gates teaches African studies, while Ward Churchill taught American Indian Studies

Is Churchill is a serious and talented scholar?

Is he also afforded accepted deferences and privileges that go with that?

What exactly are the criteria for this entitlement?

What are these accepted deferences and privileges?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Jul 29, 06:57:00 AM:

Is he [Churchill}] also afforded accepted deferences and privileges that go with that?

Perhaps. Perhaps the University of Colo. afforded him housing as a perk to his position as Chair of one of the University's departments.

But what does it matter if one university offers subsidized housing and another doesn't? Isn't that an issue between the University and its trustees? Unless, of course, you're suggesting that Gates received special treatment becuase he's black....

Poor, poor, Elijah. Just another victim of middle management looking for someone to blame for his own lot in life.  

By Blogger davod, at Wed Jul 29, 08:12:00 AM:

"Instapundit's such a great source of truth justice and the American way...right up there with Glenn Beck. ;-)"

But is it true.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Jul 29, 09:36:00 AM:

"I know, Gates is such a friggin criminal. Gotta keep these uppities from ruining everything."

Is Gates due deference because he's a professor, as Link says? Or is he due deference because he's African American, as CC says?

CC argues that Gates was due a special deference by the police, so as to sensitively avoid any
sense that racism was at work in the interaction. CC thinks that "uppityness" is something to which the police should have yielded respect, and by not doing so are insenstive and most probably racist.

Obviously, neither Link or CC are right in believing Gates is due treatment beyond that ordinary citizens receive in similar sircumstances.

We are all equally expected to cooperate in the circumstances in which Professor Gates found himself. Gates is due no greater deference than any citizen and certainly not due deference due to his skin color or aggressive attitude, as CC would have you believe.  

By Anonymous feeblemind, at Wed Jul 29, 10:13:00 AM:

I am beginning to wonder if Gates is a rather clever fellow. You stage a temper tantrum, get arrested, and have your buddy in the White House have you in for a reconciliation meeting. THEN you offer yourself out to the lecture circuit. I bet there are lots of colleges that would love to pay Gates out of student activity fees to come speak now. And I bet there are a lot of lefty groups that will do the same. This has the potential to turn into a lucrative cash cow for him. We will have to wait and see. Time will tell.  

By Blogger Escort81, at Wed Jul 29, 11:55:00 AM:

Well, If I've gotten Link to defend Christopher, my work here as a mediator is done. Mission Accomplished!

Link's parallel about JTP is well-taken, however, and as a general rule, I don't think we want minor and private tax issues known of people suddenly thrust into the spotlight (unless they are being nominated for significant positions in government or are already public servants). Dollars to doughnuts Professor Gates staffed out the accounting and tax filing work and the error was made by his tax professional; so what if the foundation made a grant to the woman who was or became his fiancee, she may have well deserved it.

My point in making the post was more about the fact that Professor Gates has a foundation, and lives in a very nice Cambridge house, and this reinforces the point I've been blogging about (really, Cardinalpark's point that I picked up on), which is that the incident is more about privilege than race. It is privilege that Gates has earned, by the way, competing against other scholars generally, and other scholars of African-American History specifically. His accomplishments do not entitle him to make racist accusations against Sgt. Crowley, however, unless there is very clear language from Crowley to that effect ("come here now, n****r," or some such hateful utterances).

If I was overly snarky on the house point regarding fair market lease and the possible tax consequences, then my bad.  

By Blogger Assistant Village Idiot, at Wed Jul 29, 09:06:00 PM:

Well the point that it's possibly an evasion of tax responsibilities may be true, but no more true for Gates than a lot of other people. No need to single him out on this.  

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