Martha Thomases’s Extra Heroes
If you were to come by my place for one of my fabulous dinner parties, you would be disappointed. My kitchen table is covered with file folders and copies of every bill I paid in 2012. Yes, it’s tax season! Every person has a different set of issues with the IRS, and mine this year are especially weird. Is an ambulance deductible?
Naturally, in an attempt to avoid this tiresome chore, I’m wondering what super-heroes who find themselves in this situation do.
I mean, I’d assume that the fabulously wealthy, the Bruce Waynes, the Tony Starks, the Oliver Queens, have accountants who can write off their gear as R & D expenses at a corporate level.
And Aquaman, Wonder Woman and Doctor Doom are heads of state of sovereign nations. Whatever they might owe their respective governments, they aren’t writing checks to the IRS.
But what about the average working schmoe? Just because you can bend steel with your bare hands doesn’t mean you can deduct your spandex pants. That’s only possible if being a hero is your business, and you need your costume as a business expense. Hooters waitresses can claim their t-shirts, Grant Morrison’s Superman can’t.
The reason that Rafalca is a legitimate business expense is that raising her is a business, with profit and loss. Similarly, if the Romney’s chose to donate the horse (or, more likely, a piece of artwork or simply cash) to charity, they would be legally entitled to a deduction for the value of their gift.
This is a good thing. I’m in favor of philanthropy. I’m in favor of tax laws that encourage charitable giving. I might quibble with an individual’s choice of charity, but then, I quibble with my own choices, and that’s what makes a democracy.
This should also apply to heroics. If Peter Parker is saving New York from the Green Goblin, he should be allowed to deduct his web fluid. That matters more to the city’s quality of life than a dozen socialites giving their used wardrobe to the Metropolitan Museum.
And Peter needs the deduction more. He’s a working stiff.
Similarly, there are all kinds of people who do good without any fancy outfits. Working people who use their own metro-cards to help tutor at-risk kids, or work at a soup kitchen, or a thrift store. They don’t have money, so they donate their time. It would be great if we lived in a world where these problems were taken care of at a macro level by the government. Until that happens, it would be nice if our tax laws encouraged its citizens to pick up the slack.
We can use the extra heroes.
SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman and Something About The New 52