Paul L. Caron

Monday, January 24, 2011

New York City Charges Alec Baldwin With Evading Tax on Residents

30 Rock New York Daily News, City Takes Aim at Rich, Famous Like Alec Baldwin, Derek Jeter, Who May be Fibbing on Where They Live:

Actor Alec Baldwin has joined a list of elite New Yorkers targeted by tax collectors who think they're fibbing about where they really live to dodge New York City income taxes.

In recent years, auditors have confronted hundreds of super-wealthy New Yorkers over the residency rules -- including star Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter [TaxProf Blog coverage here, here, and here.]

Facing shrinking revenues, the state has ramped up its pursuit of suspected tax dodgers, hiring 189 new auditors and -- for the first time -- making filers swear under oath on tax forms as to how many days they "spend in New York City." If it's more than 183 days and the filer has a residence in the city, the tax bill goes up.

Baldwin, star of NBC's "30 Rock," owns a three-bedroom co-op on Central Park West, a house in the Hamptons and a pad near his daughter in Los Angeles. He spends lots of time in the city doing the show, but claims the Hamptons as home base. That made him one of hundreds of people slapped with an audit in 2009. ...

Such audits require taxpayers to assemble an arsenal of documents -- credit card receipts, bank, telephone and computer records -- to prove where they were on specific days. ... Brad Maione, a spokesman for the state Department of Taxation and Finance, said officials completed 2,273 audits involving residency challenges in the fiscal year ending March 30, 2009. That's 9% above the previous year. ...

Not everyone loses, though. Billionaire hedge-fund investor Julian Robertson, who owns a co-op in the city but claims to work fewer than 184 days here, was challenged over residency for the year 2000. At a hearing, he produced an assistant who kept detailed records contending Robertson spent just 182 days in the city. The panel voted 2-to-1 to give him the benefit of the doubt -- saving him $27 million. [TaxProf Blog coverage here, here, and here.]


Consider what Baldwin wrote in the Huffington Post four years ago in a piece he titled Tax Cuts and the Republican Legacy:

These tax cuts are not only to make Bush's wealthiest supporters richer, they are intended to hurt less powerful Americans by killing many of the social programs they depend on. That is the legacy of this Republican-controlled Congress. To hurt those who aren't wealthy enough to write Bush-Cheney a big check. I urge all Americans to keep that in mind during this election cycle. A Republican-controlled Congress is killing important social programs that we all depend on, so that Bush's friends can avoid paying a reasonable share of their taxes. ....

So, according to the News, Baldwin might be claiming residency in the Hamptons to evade New York City taxes. But four years ago, the "30 Rock" star encouraged people to give generously to Democrats in the midterm elections so that Republicans could be ousted from Congress and taxes raised.

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Of course Baldwin is interested in entering politics as a Dem politician.

Posted by: bandit | Jan 26, 2011 5:24:13 AM

"I'm amazed that NYC hasn't passed the same sort of shakedown rule."

They have. That's what Baldwin is almost certainly being audited for. (note: he's being audited, not "charged" or "investigated.")

Posted by: jpe | Jan 25, 2011 2:18:59 PM

Taxes are for little people, didn't those NYC tax people get the Memo? Wasn't Alex Baldwin the person who said he was going to Leave the US if Bush was elected? What is he still doing here? Or does he really commute from Canada :)

Posted by: Rich | Jan 25, 2011 9:27:03 AM

Hey Woody,

If you really want to see some truly bizarre geography, you should take a look at how the democrats gerrymander congressional districts.

Posted by: Forrest | Jan 25, 2011 8:59:09 AM

I believe NYS can declare you a full-time resident even if you don't actually live there for 184 days. I'm amazed that NYC hasn't passed the same sort of shakedown rule.

Posted by: Ray | Jan 25, 2011 7:46:51 AM

Another lying, hypocritical leftist.

Posted by: Diggs | Jan 25, 2011 7:05:33 AM

I think your headline overstates the case against Alec Baldwin. He is being investigated, but he has not been charged with anything.


Posted by: The Comedian | Jan 25, 2011 5:44:39 AM

Sadly, their geography (as outlined above) makes far more sense than their Science (Global Warming, etc.) and their Economics ("say, let's give communism one more chance.."). God save us from all three....

Posted by: Zipity | Jan 25, 2011 5:35:10 AM

Alec Baldwin is from New York City, but thinks he lives somewhere else.
Hillary Clinton was from Arkansas, so she ran for senator from New York.
John Kerry is from Massachusetts, but his boat lives in Rhode Island.
Rahm Emanuel lived in Washinton, D.C., but claims it was Chicago.
And, to top it off, Obama thinks that Kenya is part of Hawaii.

Democrats sure use strange geography books to suit their needs.

Posted by: Woody | Jan 24, 2011 9:04:24 PM