Can “Girls Gone Wild” guy Joe Francis deduct everything he does just because he’s Joe? His lawyers may think it’s worth a try, based on slides obtained by the gossip site The Smoking Gun. The slides, said to have been prepared for Mr. Francis’s upcoming tax evasion trial, imply that because he’s such a celebrity, everything he does ought to be deductible, or at least his mansion in Mexico. This slide seems to show a world of potential deductions revolving around Mr. Francis:
Source: The Smoking Gun
From a tax return perspective, it’s an absurd argument, but Mr. Francis will be trying to convince a jury, not a panel of tax pros. Mr. Francis is also apparently hoping a little bit of Hollywood glitter will help his case:
As part of Joseph Francis’s opening statement in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, his defense team will show a series of slides (or “opening statement demonstratives”) that link the “Girls Gone Wild” boss and his firm to movie stars like Jennifer Aniston, Jack Nicholson, Vince Vaughn, and Orlando Bloom.
Prosecutors allege that Francis, whose trial is set to open in mid-October, illegally sought to conceal income in offshore companies and deducted millions in phony business expenses, including costs incurred at Casa Aramara, Francis’s beachfront Mexican home. One defense slide, seen below, includes photos of Aniston (whose surname is misspelled), Bloom, and Vaughn, who are described as “celebrity guests” at the Punta Mita property. It appears that Francis, 36, will argue that the estate was an investment property frequently leased to wealthy tenants and, as such, certain business tax deductions were warranted.
I wouldn’t give much for his chances for getting the deductions from the IRS, but he doesn’t have to win the deductions at trial; he just has to convince a jury that he wasn’t willfully evading taxes. It should be an interesting trial.