So as we all know there are many perks for celebrities beyond the bright lights and their beloved fans. One specific perk that all celebs enjoy come byway of “swag bags” and the amazing goodies that end up stuffed inside of them.
Truth-be-told, most of the time these very pricey trinkets, gift cards and on some occasions, exotic vacations, come from companies and designers whom celebs may never meet – or honestly care to! Surprisingly enough some swag bag items will never be used but instead may just be donated or placed somewhere inside a mansion or condo to collect dust (P.S.A., you would be surprised at what you will find at your local Hollywood Salvation Army!)
Remarkably though, celebs might just be taxed for their amazing swag bags – it’s true! In fact the Internal Revenue Service has the right to dictate the value of the goodies in your favorite celebrity’s gift bags.
According to an agreement between our beloved I.R.S. – insert sarcasm here – and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences the tax agency conducts audits of the entertainment industry regarding the “taxability of gift bags and promotional items.” The I.R.S. explains that “gift bags are not gifts… because the organizations and merchants who participate in giving the gifts bags do not do so solely out of affection, respect or similar impulses for the recipients of the gift bags.”
In laymen’s terms this translates to into “You got to PAY to PLAY!”
This raises an interesting question: If celebrities have to start paying taxes on bribes will swag bags become a thing of the past? And if so, what happens to up-and-coming designers who can’t afford swag bag placement but still hope to don their amazing trends on those who can help them attract attention from current fashionistas and fashionistos?
This is important because I recently attended an event in the Big Apple and happened to come across a blooming designer whose customized kicks would even impress our very own Sneaker Mann – and if they somehow made it into my swag bag I’d be more than happy to pay the tax [laughing]!
The designer’s name is John “JRow” Ross – store that name in your mental Rolodex – president and sneaker customizer for the urban-centric Born2Shine apparel company. JRow has graced the likes of Nicki Minaj, Wiz Khalifa, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and many more with some of his flyest one-of-a-kind kicks available.
JRow has blessed every canvas from open-toes pumps to Nike Air Forces. With every stroke from his paint brush, he and his partners-in-crime, Shane Switzerlan Gallup and Malcolm Majiq Hamer, are taking the street-inspired art form to the glitzy and glamorous world of entertainment – sheesh, I need a pair of their customized sneakers or pumps, size 6 ½ – 7ish in my next swag bag [wink, wink].
In the time being though, JRow mentioned to me that he’s been customizing an exclusive sneaker for Rick Ross – I suggest the “Bawse” make it known how JRow can get in touch with him so he can get these gems.
Going back to my point, how shameful would it be if JRow and his business partners were forced to pay taxes just to get their product into the hands, in this case the feet, of certain famous trendsetters and tastemakers? I mean, the powers that be would be stunting the growth of these and other ambitious entrepreneurs and what kind of free trade capitalism is that [laughing]?
Although, there is currently no specific enforcement initiative underway to enforce the “swag bag tax,” the cat is out of the hat and these issues can arise during individual examinations of tax returns.
Word to the wise, all you celebs and swag bag givers should keep record of what you’re getting and giving away because Uncle Sam sure is!
All in all, I support greatness on all levels so definitely check out JRow, Born2Shine and his customized shoe game at Officialborn2shine.com.
Feel free to chime in and let us know what you think about “taxable gift bags” and make sure to follow me on Twitter @SaidArie.