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D. Larry Crumbley's Forensic Accounting Fictions

Stereotypes of Philanthropy in Popular Culture. How are our tax laws portrayed in popular culture (fiction, films, television) when it comes to charitable donations? How does this portrayal affect our respect for/willingness to obey the tax laws? Do the rich "get away" with something because of tax breaks for charitable giving?

BIBLIOGRAPHY. See also The Taxman Cometh (mini-essay this website)

  • Carey, Peter, The Tax Inspector (1991).
  • Cooper, Ben, Blind Luck (1998).
  • Dixon, John, Death of a Tax Inspector (1995).
  • Dunlap, Susan, Death and Taxes (1993).
  • Gardner, Erle Stanley, The Case of the Fugitive Nurse (1993).

  • Grisham, John, The Firm ().

  • Hastings, Jon, Smith Brown Jones: Alien Accountant (1997).

  • Weikart, Jim, Harry’s Last Tax Cut (1992).

  • Susan Wolfe, The Last Billable Hour (1990).


"Paying the taxes on the old homestead" is the impetus for many films and novels, including in part Gone with the Wind (1939).

  • Bachelor in Paradise (1961). A novelist decides to write a book quickly to pay off his back taxes.

  • The Blue Iguana (1988). A bounty hunter is roped into helping two tax collectors stave off the illegal transfer of funds across the Mexican border.

  • The Blues Brothers (1980).

  • Bounty Tracker (1993). Almost everyone in a tax consultant's firm is murdered.

  • Come On Danger (1942). A bandit exhorts taxes out of the local ranchers.

  • Dragonworld (1994). A dragon convinces the heir to a Scottish castle to establish a theme park to pay off the back taxes.

  • Handle With Care (1958). A law student uncovers proof of fake tax receipts.

  • Income Tax Sappy (1954). The Three Stooges get jobs as tax advisors.

  • The Mating Game (1959).   A government employee investigates why a farmer hasn't paid his back taxes.

  • Rebecca's Daughters (1992). A Welsh taxpayer leads a revolt.

  • Robin Hood (1938); Robin Hood (1973); Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993); various other Robin Hood films. All deal with the evil Prince John and his cohort the Sheriff of Nottingham and their attempts to raise taxes illegally. See also

  • Something for the Boys (1944).  Three heirs turn an old Southern plantation into a hotel.

Another popular target is the IRS's eagerness and vindictiveness in collecting back taxes or using a tax audit to exact compliance.

  • Delusions of Grandeur (1976). Yves Montand is a loyal servant of the crown who becomes a tax collector.

  • Tax Season (1990).

Shutting down stills is also a common theme.

  • Moonshine Highway (1996).

Finally, tax shelters are often a popular target.

  • Lobster Man From Mars (1989). An aspiring filmmaker approaches a studio exec in need of a tax write-off.

  • Moonlighting (TV Pilot, 1985). A model discovers her business manager has made off with all her funds. 

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