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IRS wants $29 million in estate taxes for bald-eagle sculpture that Ö canít legally be sold
Hotair ^ | 07/24/2012 | AllahPundit

Posted on 07/24/2012 8:29:01 AM PDT by SeekAndFind

That's one way to increase tax revenue from the rich. If you can't get Congress to pass the Buffett Rule, why not just start taxing phantom income instead?

They want their money, even if you don't get yours.

The object under discussion is “Canyon,” a masterwork of 20th-century art created by Robert Rauschenberg that Sonnabend’s children inherited when she died in 2007.

Because the work, a sculptural combine, includes a stuffed bald eagle, a bird under federal protection, the heirs would be committing a felony if they ever tried to sell it. So their appraisers have valued the work at zero. But the IRS takes a different view. It has appraised “Canyon” at $65 million and is demanding that the owners pay $29.2 million in taxes...

While art lovers may appreciate the IRS’ aesthetic sensibilities, some estate planners, tax lawyers and collectors are alarmed at the agency’s position, arguing the case could upend the standard practice of valuing assets according to their sale in a normal market. IRS guidelines say that in figuring an item’s fair market value, taxpayers should “include any restrictions, understandings, or covenants limiting the use or disposition of the property.”

The owners inherited a cool $1 billion in art from their mother but have had to sell nearly $600 million worth to cover the federal and estate taxes. As for the eagle, they can either (a) keep it and come up with $29 million, (b) sell it and go to jail for that, (c) refuse to pay the tax and go to jail for that, or (d) accept the feds' valuation and come up with the $29 million, then donate the sculpture to charity and take a relatively small charitable deduction every year for the next … 75 years. I’m honestly curious to see if the IRS backs down now that there’s been some media attention to this or if they figure, as their boss does, that the public’s sufficiently hostile to rich people that they can play hardball here by demanding a tax on an asset that can’t legally generate income. Which way are we betting? Let me know in the comments!


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: baldeagle; deathtax; estatetax; irs; taxes

1 posted on 07/24/2012 8:29:07 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind
It is unlawful for most of us to buy, sell or POSSESS eagle parts.

I'd take it to the tax auditor's office and invite some Interior Department folks with me to instantly arrest the agent for "possession".

2 posted on 07/24/2012 8:33:30 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: SeekAndFind

If the IRS can do this, they could also conceivably hit you with a tax bill of what they think your lifetime income will probably be and charge you accordingly.


3 posted on 07/24/2012 8:34:02 AM PDT by Jonty30 (What Islam and secularism have in common is that they are both death cults.)
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To: SeekAndFind

So who was it that said the Rich don’t pay enough in taxes?


4 posted on 07/24/2012 8:35:25 AM PDT by The Working Man
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To: SeekAndFind

There is an option E: Fight it in court.


5 posted on 07/24/2012 8:36:38 AM PDT by cuban leaf (Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Donate it to a museum at the IRS’s assessed value, and take the tax deduction.


6 posted on 07/24/2012 8:37:35 AM PDT by ltc8k6
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To: SeekAndFind

The IRS will become the new Gestapo. Perhaps Obama should get them black uniforms.


7 posted on 07/24/2012 8:38:16 AM PDT by The Great RJ
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To: cuban leaf

There is an option E: Fight it in court.

And use the last 400 million on lawyers...No thanks. If they feel that the item is a family treasure than pay the 29 million and keep it in the family. If not donate it and use the tax write off for 75 years. I think unless I really loved the item, I would take the write off....I wonder if it would go to future generations (75 years)????


8 posted on 07/24/2012 8:40:32 AM PDT by napscoordinator
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To: SeekAndFind
Protective laws should have a grandfather clause, otherwise you end up with idiocy like this.

9 posted on 07/24/2012 8:41:57 AM PDT by BitWielder1 (Corporate Profits are better than Government Waste)
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To: napscoordinator

—And use the last 400 million on lawyers...—

Why would it cost that much?

If it would, then this is basically an IRS shakedown.


10 posted on 07/24/2012 8:42:16 AM PDT by cuban leaf (Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
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To: The Working Man
So who was it that said the Rich don’t pay enough in taxes?

Why, of course they don't! The IRS is letting them keep what, $400 million?! Doesn't that sound like an outrageous amount of money? Even at a 60% plus rate, they're obviously not being taxed enough. :-/

11 posted on 07/24/2012 8:42:53 AM PDT by ThunderSleeps (Stop obama now! Stop the hussein - insane agenda!)
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To: cuban leaf

RE: There is an option E: Fight it in court.

With guys like John Roberts now on the other side of the fence, I’m not so sure this will amount to anything.


12 posted on 07/24/2012 8:43:40 AM PDT by SeekAndFind (bOTRT)
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To: SeekAndFind

Or - have some catastrophe destroy the sculpture and claim a loss of the IRS’s assessed value.


13 posted on 07/24/2012 8:44:30 AM PDT by NY.SS-Bar9
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To: cuban leaf

If it would, then this is basically an IRS shakedown.

Wouldn’t surprise me in the least.


14 posted on 07/24/2012 8:45:00 AM PDT by napscoordinator
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To: ltc8k6
Donate it to a museum...

Good idea. They no longer have to deal with the upkeep and they can go look at it any time next to the plaque that says "Donated by the Sonnabend Family".

15 posted on 07/24/2012 8:47:46 AM PDT by BitWielder1 (Corporate Profits are better than Government Waste)
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To: SeekAndFind

They could leave it in the back of a truck in a parking lot and allow it to be stolen.


16 posted on 07/24/2012 8:50:58 AM PDT by lurk
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To: SeekAndFind
$65 million?!?


17 posted on 07/24/2012 8:51:06 AM PDT by houeto (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: BitWielder1

You didn’t read about how the donation would have to amortized.


18 posted on 07/24/2012 8:51:11 AM PDT by Mamzelle
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To: houeto

Ugh. Before our hearts bleed any more for these rich inheritors of artsy-fartsy garbage...are they progessive Democrats? Are they really getting exactly what they deserve?


19 posted on 07/24/2012 8:52:40 AM PDT by Mamzelle
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To: houeto

Ugly as a mud fence!


20 posted on 07/24/2012 8:53:01 AM PDT by houeto (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: SeekAndFind

The federal government has mutated into a grotesque spoiled child that sits on a huge pile of candy while pointing at another child holding a small candy bar while screaming “you’re greedy, you have to share!”

At least that’s what I think of when I see Nancy Pelosi.


21 posted on 07/24/2012 8:55:45 AM PDT by Rides_A_Red_Horse (If there is a war on women, the Kennedys are the Spec Ops troops.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin:

Accuse others of what you do.

The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation.

John Maynard Keynes:
Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the Capitalist System was to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method, they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and, while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some. . . . Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. . . . (It) does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose. . .


22 posted on 07/24/2012 8:56:47 AM PDT by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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To: muawiyah
"It is unlawful for most of us to buy, sell or POSSESS eagle parts."

Does that include feathers? because we find them all the time near our cabin.
23 posted on 07/24/2012 9:10:26 AM PDT by jaydubya2
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To: SeekAndFind

Keep in mind that when the government passed the income tax, they said it would only be levied on “the Rich” and would not exceed 3%.

Then the media wonders why sensible citizens don’t believe anything the government tells them.


24 posted on 07/24/2012 9:11:40 AM PDT by txrefugee
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To: houeto

“Ugly as a mud fence!”

Definitely a donation. That thing looks worse than the junk that school families would donate to our annual charity auction when cleaning out their garages and basements.


25 posted on 07/24/2012 9:19:08 AM PDT by No Socialist
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To: jaydubya2
"It is unlawful for most of us to buy, sell or POSSESS eagle parts."

Does that include feathers? because we find them all the time near our cabin.

Yes, it does. Just another indicator of the malevolent insanity in which we're living.

26 posted on 07/24/2012 9:31:21 AM PDT by tarheelswamprat
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To: SeekAndFind
There's a flip side to this. Is the artwork insured? If so, how much would the owners collect if it were destroyed in a fire? The owners may have been technically right in valuing it at $0, but they can't possibly be serious about that if they've insured it for tens of millions of dollars, and an insurance company would be on the hook for those tens of millions of dollars.

The other thing to consider is this: What would happen if the IRS accepted the $0 estimated value, then the Federal law changed a week from now so that the piece could legally be bought, sold and transported? Hmmm ...

27 posted on 07/24/2012 9:41:13 AM PDT by Alberta's Child ("If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested.")
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To: SeekAndFind

Abolish the S.O.B,s


28 posted on 07/24/2012 9:41:47 AM PDT by ravenwolf
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To: cuban leaf

Option F (from my last post): Set it on fire and collect an insurance settlement based on the IRS value.


29 posted on 07/24/2012 9:42:38 AM PDT by Alberta's Child ("If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested.")
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To: Alberta's Child

But the insurance company would not give it a value.

Meh, I’d just deny it survived his death and hide it somewhere.

Let the IRS prove it still exists.


30 posted on 07/24/2012 9:51:43 AM PDT by cuban leaf (Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
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To: muawiyah
It is unlawful for most of us to buy, sell or POSSESS eagle parts.

IIRC, there's an exception for Native Americans. The family / estate should sell it to Elizabeth Warren.

31 posted on 07/24/2012 10:00:26 AM PDT by Charles Martel (Endeavor to persevere...)
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To: SeekAndFind

Is there any way that the inheritors could refuse to accept the eagle? If possessing eagle parts is illegal, one would think that this item should be refused by the inheritors. Perhaps it could remain with the deceased’s estate and then be confiscated by the government.


32 posted on 07/24/2012 10:06:29 AM PDT by grumpygresh (Democrats delenda est; zero sera dans l'enfer bientot.)
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To: Charles Martel

I think you must be an active practicing member of a recognized tribe.


33 posted on 07/24/2012 10:08:50 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: cuban leaf

If the art collection is insured, I can guarantee you the insurance company did some kind of appraisal of their own before setting the premiums.


34 posted on 07/24/2012 10:10:41 AM PDT by Alberta's Child ("If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested.")
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To: SeekAndFind

It all depends. If they are Demoncrats and submit a very large contribution to the Obeyme super pac, then their troubles will abate. If they are R’s, then they can expect the hungry pigs treatment like in Hannibal.

Simple, really.


35 posted on 07/24/2012 10:21:36 AM PDT by SargeK
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To: tarheelswamprat

That’s just crazy!


36 posted on 07/24/2012 10:59:13 AM PDT by jaydubya2
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To: SeekAndFind
Catch law 22. Tax what cannot be sold legally to recoup the tax loss.
I would take it to court and make the IRS accumulate 1-10 mil in losses
to collect on art that shouldn't be taxed due to it's actual standard set by the Feds.

I would also call a Gov or Senator for backing in this case. That kind of money
would and could unseat a politician.

37 posted on 07/24/2012 11:13:43 AM PDT by MaxMax
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To: SeekAndFind

All that for such a grotesque ‘sculpture’. If the IRS says it’s worth umpty-bajillion, perhaps they just just give it to the federal government, c/o IRS, in lieu of other payments and demand a receipt.


38 posted on 07/24/2012 11:14:44 AM PDT by Kommodor (Terrorist, Journalist or Democrat? I can't tell the difference.)
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To: SeekAndFind

If IVORY which is older can be possessed, why cannot this artwork be in the same category? A person cannot possess ivory which is more current.

How old is this piece of artwork??

When was the law about the eagles passed??

Something doesn’t add up here.


39 posted on 07/24/2012 12:07:09 PM PDT by ridesthemiles
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To: jaydubya2

Years ago a somewhat local lady got nabbed by the feds after presenting to Hillary a “dream catcher” that apparently contained an eagle feather.

From Snopes: “Peg Bargon, 39, of Monticello, Illinois, plead guilty in federal court last summer to four misdemeanor violations of the Lacey Act and Bald Eagle Protection Acts. As part of the plea agreement, the government agreed to dismiss two additional counts that alleged another violation of the Eagle Act and an MBTA violation. Bargon’s presentation of a dreamcatcher which included feathers from a bald eagle, goshawk, barred owl, and a snowy owl to Mrs. Clinton during the latter’s appearance at the University of Illinois in 1994 resulted in heightened media interest in the case. Clinton turned over the dreamcatcher to FWS when she was initially contacted.”

More detail here: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2000-10-27/news/0010270199_1_pardon-convicted-hillary-rodham-clinton


40 posted on 07/24/2012 12:09:24 PM PDT by Western Phil
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To: houeto
The object under discussion is “Canyon,” a masterwork of 20th-century art ...

Man, 20th century art really sucks if this is a "masterwork"!

41 posted on 07/24/2012 12:58:27 PM PDT by hattend (Firearms and ammunition...the only growing industries under the Obama regime.)
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To: Western Phil

We get serveral eagle feathers in our yard every year. So if I pick them up to dispose of them, I would be in possesion of them and guilty of a misdemeaner?


42 posted on 07/24/2012 1:07:26 PM PDT by jaydubya2
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To: SeekAndFind

I would just mail the eagle to the IRS and call it a voluntary forfeiture.


43 posted on 07/24/2012 1:26:57 PM PDT by willyd
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To: SeekAndFind

If this piece of art were to “accidentally” burn up in a fire, could they claim a $65 million loss?


44 posted on 07/24/2012 1:46:25 PM PDT by BuffaloJack (Repeal Obamacare, the CITIZENSHIP TAX)
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To: SeekAndFind

Wasn’t there a guy named George III who used to think he could get away with %^ap like this!!


45 posted on 07/24/2012 1:46:36 PM PDT by mo (If you understand, no explanation is needed. If you don't understand, no explanation is possible.)
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To: SeekAndFind

“Which way are we betting? Let me know in the comments!”

I’d bet the Feds and the IRS are just trying to see how irate We the People get when some of the uber-rich get theirs stolen...at some point the “precedence” “legitimizes” the act!!


46 posted on 07/24/2012 1:50:01 PM PDT by mo (If you understand, no explanation is needed. If you don't understand, no explanation is possible.)
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To: jaydubya2

I wouldn’t tell the feds you are doing it, but if you read that article closely, you will see that they monitor & investigate news reports. Their performance appraisal results depend upon how many “innocent” citizens they subject to fines. Just don’t pick up any feathers when the EPA drone is around.


47 posted on 07/24/2012 2:18:50 PM PDT by Western Phil
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To: Jonty30

This would set a bad precedent if it proceeds.


48 posted on 07/24/2012 2:29:52 PM PDT by Sarajevo (Don't think for a minute that this excuse for a President has America's best interest in mind.)
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