Put simply, you win the lottery, you pay taxes on it. You win a house, you pay taxes on it. Someone gives you a car, you pay taxes on it. Celebrities, however, are often given resplendent gifts bags filled with watches that cost as much as your car, jackets equivalent in value to your child's first year in college and many other uber-expensive delectables -- most in the practice of gaining high-status buzz for products. (How do you think Fiji Water earned its high-end cache?)
This year's Emmy haul, including Ford hybrid leases and LASIK eye surgery, could be valued at up to $50,000 per nominee. Given their tax bracket, most VIPs could end up owing up to 50% of the estimated value of the gifts.
Fiji Water could be safe for the time being, but if the IRS gets what it wants, we might see fewer free Rolexes on the wrists of Hollywood royalty and more extravagant donations to charity.