Cleaning out some of the older links from my newsreader brought me this old news about a bit of Yuletide scroogery from the IRS, courtesy of Alina at Totalitarianism Today (2004-12-23):
As if payroll taxes weren’t enough— here is an example of the IRS almost literally whisking the Christmas turkery from the table-tops of hard-working Americans. According to Brian Hindo of Business Week, many companies used to hand out turkeys this time of year. Now, however, 41% give out coupons, which can be redeemed at any store for a turkey or a tofu turkey or whatever suits the employee’s fancy.
Sensing a little possibility for happiness, the IRS immediately put its best and brightest bureaucrats on the job. Heaven forbid an employee use that coupon to purchase a tub of Whip Cream rather than a fine-feathered friend. The result? The judgement that gift certificates, unlike actual turkeys, are a cash equivalent— and therefore taxable.
Bureaucratic rationality, n.: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy without permission.