Paul L. Caron

Friday, June 2, 2006

Tax Consequences of Justice Kennedy's Bobblehead

Justice_kennedy_bobblehead_1The Green Bag's distribution of the new Justice Kennedy bobblehead to 1,710 of its subcribers raises an issue we have previously blogged: what are the tax consequences of the bobbleheads?  At what point is a valuable item received by a subscriber treated as income?

This is the fifth in the line of Supreme Court bobbleheads produced and distributed by The Green Bag.  Prior bobbleheads have sold for thousands of dollars on eBay.  (Currently, only the Scalia bobblehead is for sale on the site.)

Since a subscription to The Green Bag is only $35, why don't more enterprising folks subscribe to the journal?  The Green Bag is cagey in saying that not all subscribers get bobbleheads:  "Some (but not all) subscribers to the Green Bag as of the date we announce the release of a bobblehead receive a certificate redeemable for a doll, and we arbitrarily and capriciously give certificates to some folks who are not subscribers (mostly law school public interest groups that auction the dolls at their annual fundraisers)."

A final question:  why not bobbleheads of Tax Court judges?  Since a subscription to Tax Notes costs over $2,000, and the Tax Court bobbleheads presumably will be worth a bit less than the Supreme Court bobbleheads, perhaps Tax Analysts will step up to the plate?

For press coverage of the Justice Kennedy bobblehead, see the Legal Times.)

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Tracked on Jun 5, 2006 12:37:45 AM


I'm excited to receive my Kennedy BHD. I have my Scalia, and since it'd be expensive to obtain a Stevens online, I'm intending to wait until he retires, at which point I should have all of the actively-serving BobbleJustices. Perhaps someday I'll have a quorum. Enough to garner a majority would be nice. Awesome would be if an opinion came out, and I had each and every bobblejustice in the majority. More awesome would be if I agreed with the reasoning and outcome, but you can't have everything.

I hereby promise to post a picture on my blog (see my blog for why that's amusing) of the resulting BobbleMajority if and when it ever happens.

Posted by: Eh Nonymous | Jun 6, 2006 7:48:33 AM

Too good! I've added this to the inaugural Carnival of Taxes that went live June 5.

Posted by: Kay Bell | Jun 5, 2006 10:14:53 AM