Free Stuff

I just finished watching The Daily Show. It’s recorded on the DVR and then streamed here to my laptop.

When the show ends, the DVR freezes on the last frame recorded. I’m not sure why, but tonight I looked to see what was there.

Salvatore Ferragamo is providing shoes. Seriously.

Hey, I’m on TV and one of the benefits of my job is a clothing allowance. Maybe I shouldn’t comment?

Actually, it’s not as glamorous as it seems. In essence it’s part of my salary (which you I pay taxes on) which I commit to spend on clothing. It forces me to dress nicely, benefiting both the station and me.

Here’s the difference with Jon Stewart. You never see his feet! He spends 100% of his time behind a desk. He still gets shoes.

I can’t even imagine how this entered into his contract negotiations. Here’s a guy with a seven figure salary. How important could a few pairs of wingtips be?

This will go down as one of life’s truly great mysteries… undoubtedly provided by one of show businesses truly great agents.

One thought on “Free Stuff”

  1. Interesting, Geoff. When they teach federal income tax in law school, they go over some cases on this area, believe it or not. If you work for a fancy clothing store (or a chain store like the Gap) and part of your job description requires you to buy and wear their clothes- it’s not even deductible. And if they give it to you whether in kind, it’s income, just like you described about your cash clothing allowance.

    The test is interesting: if you could wear the clothes in everyday life, it’s income. If you couldn’t, it’s deductible. So, the Burger King uniform is exempt- because you wouldn’t wear that out and about if you could help it. Same goes for Alex Rodriguez’s Yankee uniform. Can’t really wear that walking down 5th avenue. Same goes for scrubs or white labcoats.

    What I don’t know is whether if an employer gives you something to wear, like shoes, and you leave them at work- never wearing them out for anything but work, whether you could get an income exemption or a deduction.

    I must caveat the above by saying it constitutes neither legal advice nor tax advice.

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