Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 9, 2010

ABOUT THOSE 'TAX CHEATS'.... In May, Fox News' Glenn Beck was in high dudgeon over Obama administration nominees with tax troubles. "If you're a special person, if you happen to be in the right crowd, if you happen to be in Tim Geithner's case," he argued in May, "well, then, you cannot pay your taxes and they don't really bother you at all."

In one instance, a White House nominee had to withdraw over a $946.69 tax lien on her home. Beck cited her as evidence of "a culture of corruption among some of the left," and described her and others as "tax cheats," whom he wouldn't trust "with my children, let alone my children's future."

Oops.

So what to make, then, of the fact that Beck has had his own minor tax problems over the past few years?

As Beck evolved from a medium-market local radio personality to a one-man media empire with top-rated radio and television shows, best-selling books, a monthly magazine and a traveling one-man comedy tour, his production company, Mercury Radio Arts, has at times struggled to keep up with the heightened tax and filing demands accompanying his success.

Mercury, a private corporation that lists Beck as chief executive officer and his wife, Tania Beck, alternately as vice president or secretary, since 2007 has fallen behind on its New York City business income taxes and has been cited for filing errors related to its obligations under Texas franchise tax and New York state workers' compensation insurance rules.

Beck was not available for comment, and Mercury's president, Chris Balfe, declined a requested interview. But a source with knowledge of the situation said that Mercury's tax issues were minor, stemmed from bureaucratic confusion and were rectified quickly once the company learned of them.

As of about two years ago, Beck's company had been penalized about $11,000 for overdue general corporation taxes, followed by an additional $8,250 fine for temporarily failing to carry workers' compensation insurance in New York. In both instances, the matters were resolved soon after.

Indeed, in all fairness to Beck, based on the reporting, there's no reason to believe the deranged media personality was deliberately trying to evade paying the taxes he owed. By all appearances, Beck's tax troubles were inadvertent and were addressed rather quickly.

But therein lies the point: the same can be said of some of the Obama administration nominees who had very similar tax errors in their background. And in each instance, Beck made them out to be untrustworthy criminals who think they're better than everyone else.

I'm sympathetic to Beck's difficulties; business taxes are surprisingly complex. If he'll simply apologize and acknowledge his hypocrisy, Beck can put this behind him. That shouldn't be a problem, should it?

Steve Benen 8:35 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (13)

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Comments

Beck is surely a hypocrite, but Steve touched on what causes lots of these "tax cheat" problems: the tax code is too complicated. Most of that is from lobbyists carving out exemptions etc, not liberals wanted more taxes (who would just make a higher but simpler and more comprehensive rate.) Note also that Republicans (like VA's GE McDonnell) say that taking away loopholes is "a tax increase", effectively ruining even revenue-neutral avenues of simplification and reform.

Posted by: neil b, on January 9, 2010 at 9:16 AM | PERMALINK

Part of running a business, is hiring a competent accountant. It sucks, it's annoying, and when the undead-startup I once worked for started making a little money, AND we transitioned into AMT land, we, too, had to hire an accountant to do our personal taxes.
(Yes, we tried Turbo Tax. No, it did not work, and it sure as heck did not simplify our lives. The accountant works, it's great.)

Life sucks, but I guess I'm just not one of those Lucky Duckies who makes so little money that their taxes can be done by an amateur.

Posted by: dr2chase on January 9, 2010 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

"If he'll simply apologize and acknowledge his hypocrisy, Beck can put this behind him."

He'll experience complete forgiveness if he only converts to christianity.

Posted by: Joel on January 9, 2010 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

Given Beck's strange unwillingness to refute the persistent rumors that he raped and murdered a young girl in 1990, I doubt we'll get a straight answer on these tax problems anytime soon either.

Posted by: Joey Maloney on January 9, 2010 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

I am going to wait for Mr. Becks apology while keeping busy with odd and sundry tasks related to a disciplined study of lint and the navel , any navel .

Posted by: FRP on January 9, 2010 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

I don't think that the Mormom Church offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Buddhist faith. So my message to Glenn would be, "Glenn, turn to the Buddhist faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world."

Posted by: ComradeAnon on January 9, 2010 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

Our world will become safer when Glenn Beck's shit is only heard in the canyons of his own mind!

I pray everyday the people who watch Glenn Beck will wake up and decide not to remain as stupid as he is trying to make them! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on January 9, 2010 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

Beck cited her as evidence of "a culture of corruption among some of the left," and described her and others as "tax cheats," whom he wouldn't trust "with my children, let alone my children's future."

That settles it--take away his children, NOW!

Posted by: Varecia on January 9, 2010 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

Hmmm.

Rush Limbaugh castigates people who have a drug addiction problem. Rush Limbaugh is a drug addict.

Ann Coulter fumes about ACORN and fraudulent voter registration. Ann Coulter commits felonious voter fraud.

Glenn Beck harangues members of the Obama administration for tax problems. Glenn Beck is guilty of tax evasion.

I detect a theme here.

Posted by: josef on January 9, 2010 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

Mercury Radio Arts? REALLY?

If there were room enough in there, Orson Welles would not only be rolling over in his grave, he'd be pushing himself up to get out and ream the poseur Beck for sullying the name of an outfit with actual TALENT.

(just saw Me and Orson Welles. good movie.)

Posted by: Cal Gal on January 9, 2010 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Re: "Mercury Radio Arts": isn't mercury one of the most deadly metals on the planet, especially well-known for causing brain damage?
That could explain a lot...

Posted by: Doug on January 9, 2010 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, so bureacratic filing issues are the same as the head of the IRS (and architect of the AIG bailout) failing to understand how a 1099 is taxed?

--It's rather obvious that most of these tax sophisticates & commentators have yet to submit a 1040 that wasn't prepared by daddy and/or trust executor. Enjoy your depression, hopey-changey types.

Posted by: Mark M. on January 12, 2010 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

One name that won't be mentioned by Beck- Scott Brown. A tax cheat on Social Security and unemployment for his campaign staff.

Posted by: Ken on January 21, 2010 at 2:05 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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