Posts Tagged ‘Joe Francis’

Tax Roundup, 10/18/2012: Iowa tax reform battle shapes up. Also: shaming the shameless.

Thursday, October 18th, 2012 by Joe Kristan

Battle lines begin to form on Iowa tax reform.  Iowa Governor Branstad appears to be preparing to take advantage of state budget surpluses to push a rate-cutting tax reform.  A story in today’s State Tax Notes ($link) foreshadows how the battle lines are likely to play out:

However, Iowa Policy Project Research Director Peter Fisher countered that to stimulate the economy the state should restore funding to post-secondary education to offset the cuts made during the recent fiscal crisis.

     Fisher also said that lawmakers should consider tax reform proposals that reduce the tax burden on lower-income families that often pay more in state taxes than federal taxes.

     “I think there is an equity issue there that should be addressed,” Fisher said.

Where Governor Branstad will focus on cutting rates, the opposition is likely to focus on spending (“restoring funding”) and on once again pushing for an increase in Iowa’s earned income credit, in spite of its built-in tendency to lock people into low incomes through hidden high tax brackets on the poor.

Peter Fisher is likely to provide the think-tank ammunition for the Governor’s opponents; as we have noted, Mr. Fisher thinks Iowa’s business tax climate is just fine, because it’s ineffective:

Fisher argued that the Tax Foundation’s rankings (State Business Tax Climate Index) misrepresent the state’s tax climate. He said that business tax collections as a share of the economy are actually below the national average.

The State Tax Notes piece has the likely response to Fisher-type arguments:

     Tax Foundation economist Scott Drenkard responded that while Iowa’s business tax burden may fall in the middle of the pack nationally, it has the highest top corporate tax rate in the country at 12 percent.

     The study’s rankings favor tax systems with a broad base and lower rate, Drenkard said. He added that a higher rate with a narrower base creates economic distortions.

Distortions like clobbering in-state suppliers to large manufacturers and in-state C corporations, for example.  Or corrupt boondoggles like the now-defunct film credits.

Related: The Tax Update’s Quick and Dirty Iowa Tax Teform Plan,


Howard Gleckman,  What the Joint Tax Committee Really Said About Tax Reform

The JCT plan is very different from other tax reform proposals. For instance, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, the chairs of President Obama’s fiscal commission, designed a reform that could get rates as low as 28 percent, but did it by eliminating nearly all tax preferences (not just deductions) and scaling back the few that survived.

So, it turns out, JCT doesn’t contradict groups like the Rivlin-Domenci Commission or Simpson-Bowles, it  merely uses different assumptions.

Related: Peter Reilly,  Eliminating Tax Expenditures To Cut Rates – Early Results Are Underwhelming


Brutal Assault on Reason Watch: 

Roberton Williams,  How Much Revenue Would a Cap on Itemized Deductions Raise?  “Eliminating all itemized deductions would yield about $2 trillion of additional revenue over ten years if we cut all rates” by 20 percent and eliminate the AMT.”

William McBride, Second Debate Marred by Protectionist Rhetoric

Anthony Nitti,  Tax Aspects Of The Obama – Romney Debate, Round 2

Kay Bell, Taxes discussed, sort of, in the second presidential debate

 Jacob Sullum,   Romney Makes His Tax Promises Even Harder to Keep  (

Alan Reynolds, Obama’s ‘Trillion Dollar’ Tax-Cut Fraud  (National Review)

Jonathan Easley,  Sen. Kerry: Romney trying to ‘perpetrate a fraud’ with tax plan (The Hill)

Linda Beale,  Romney’s Tax (Mis)Calculations: if your two and two don’t add to four, pretend the laffer curve gives you more


TaxProf,   TIGTA: IRS Unjustifiably Withholds $181 Million in Relief from Tax Penalties from 1.5 Million Taxpayers.

Anthony Nitti,  S Corporation Shareholders: Is it Time to Consider Accelerating Income Into 2012?

Kay Bell,  It’s workplace benefits — including spending accounts — enrollment time

Robert D. Flach is having an OCTOBER HALF PRICE SALE on his worksheet packages.

News you can use: The 10 Most Corrupt Tax Loopholes (Village Voice, via the TaxProf)

Going Concern, PwC Employee Embraces the Cheapskate CPA Stereotype Like No Other.  When I worked for predecessor Price Waterhouse, I was cheap for lack of alternatives.

20090827-2.jpgWill “naming and shaming” intimidate Steven Seagal?  California has posted its list of “Top 500 Delinquent Taxpayers.”  While somebody better at celebrities could surely find more, I spotted a few familiar names:

Dionne Warwick,$2,598,968.65

Joseph Francis, $819,804.11.

Steven Seagal, $347,849.67

Joe Francis has had his share of tax issues, but can you really “shame” a porn magnate?


Brokerage accounts gone wild!

Thursday, January 21st, 2010 by Joe Kristan

The IRS gets to keep its jeopardy assessment against “Girls Gone Wild” impresario Joe Frances. Mr. Francis recently copped a plea to tax charges, but apparently the IRS doesn’t fully trust him to pay up his back taxes. Kay Bell has the scoop.

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Geithner: you really like him!

Thursday, January 7th, 2010 by Joe Kristan

While the popularity of the Obama administration may be slipping, Tax Update readers love the Obama Treasury Secretary, if our Taxpayer of the Year Polling is any indication. It takes quite a man to outpoll both porn magnate Joe Francis and randy 78-year old tax lawyer William Halby, but so far Mr. Geithner is up to the challenge.

Who is the 2009 Taxpayer of the Year?
Brad Birkenfeld
Nick Cage
Helio Castroneves
Joe Francis
Tim Geithner
William Halby
Peter Hendrickson
Kent Hovind
Rev. Anthony Jinwright free polls

But don’t be a mere follower. Check out all of our Taxpayer of the Year – 2009 candidates and vote today, and then some!


Turbotax Timmy? Dancing Helio? Let’s pick the 2009 Taxpayer of the Year!

Monday, January 4th, 2010 by Joe Kristan

Now that 2009 has been over for several whole days, we can look back with the perspective of history to determine a worthy Taxpayer of the Year for 2009. Prior winners are ineligible, while those who win awards from other major tax sites are automatically nominated. Without further ado, the candidates:

Who is the 2009 Taxpayer of the Year?
Brad Birkenfeld
Nick Cage
Helio Castroneves
Joe Francis
Tim Geithner
William Halby
Peter Hendrickson
Kent Hovind
Rev. Anthony Jinwright free polls

To learn more about our candidates, read on!



You call this a ‘bargain’?

Monday, September 28th, 2009 by Joe Kristan

Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis negotiated a plea deal that would limit his jail time on tax charges to time already served. Jack Townsend says that the sentencing judge may give him more time than he bargained for:

From a tax perspective, the interesting feature of the plea is the downgrading of the offense of conviction from the charged felony tax evasion to the


‘Girls Gone Wild’ figure goes for plea deal

Thursday, September 24th, 2009 by Joe Kristan

The founder of the “Girls Gone Wild” empire has copped a plea on his tax evasion charges. It looks like a good deal for him, as he gets no addtional prison time. That may mean the government had a weak case or that Mr. Francis had really good lawyers. Or maybe the government attorneys were just intimidated by his mad Powerpoint skillz:
More coverage:
The TaxProf
Kay Bell

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Joe Francis: I didn’t evade taxes, and it’s their fault anyway

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009 by Joe Kristan

There’s a new twist in the tax evasion case of “Girls Gone Wild” impresario Joe Francis. He has sued three former employees for for allegedly turning him in to the IRS in an attempt to cover their own tracks. Mr. Francis alleges the employees were stealing from him:

The complaint, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday by “Girls Gone Wild” production company Mantra Films, alleges that the firm’s former chief financial officer Michael Barrett, former head of technology Roman Pelikh and former vice president of operations Will L’Heureux defrauded Mantra and falsely accused Francis of tax evasion.
The lawsuit charges that the three formed their own company, WMR Marketing, and hid their involvement in it as they approved fraudulent invoices it submitted to Mantra worth nearly $500,000. It also claims that Pelikh submitted and obtained reimbursements for hundreds of thousands of dollars of fraudulent expense reports.

It might not be entirely shocking to find out that Mr. Francis attracts unsavory associates. Even if the charges in the lawsuit turn out to be true, it won’t help Mr. Francis if the IRS succeeds in proving their allegation that he tried to deduct his house in Mexico as a business expense.
Mr. Francis’ defense team has put together a slideshow to help with his defense. I hope they add one for these new allegations that’s as professional as this one:
Related: Deductions for just being Joe
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Deductions for just being Joe

Thursday, August 27th, 2009 by Joe Kristan

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.
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Guys Gone Missing!

Monday, February 2nd, 2009 by Joe Kristan

Joe Francis, the “Girls Gone Wild” guy awaiting trial on tax charges, failed to show up for a hearing in federal court today, so there’s a bench warrant out on him. As a service to law enforcement, here’s what he looks like:
He’s the tall one in the brown shirt.
UPDATE: He showed up five hours late and was arrested. His lawyer said he was ill, but he must have not had a note.