It seems that Argentina’s tax officials take the holiday spirit of giving very seriously as long as they are the ones on the receiving end.
According to the BBC, tax inspectors clad in Santa Claus outfits are being deployed in Buenos Aires to try to encourage reluctant taxpayers to cough up. As part of a campaign to reduce tax evasion, the Santas are stopping passers-by in the in Argentine capital to tell them about special benefits if they pay up this month.
A few more fiscal Santa observations as we near Dec. 25:
St. Nick sits atop Forbes Magazine’s list of the 15 richest fictional characters. If you register with the ezine, you can see the whole list here. (The anti-Santa, Scrooge McDuck, is #6 on the list.)
I’m sure the IRS would love to be able to get its hands on what Forbes estimates as Santa’s “infinite” fortune, an amount that prompts the right jolly old elf “to embark on annual around-the-world trip in a futile attempt to give it away.” Hmmm, I guess he didn’t need to send the bill my mother always told us she got from the North Pole business office each year.
Bankrate.com, however, has a different take on Santa’s financial health. The personal finance Web site figures that St. Nick earns around $9.26 million a year, but that he’s still not as rich as the Muppets. Plus, he spends around $9.7 annually buying all those gifts he distributes, says the site, meaning that his bank account ends up as red as his traditional suit.
I wonder if Santa gets any royalties (taxable income, of course) from those inflatable versions of him that seem to dot every other lawn in my neighborhood. A quick Web search finds these decorations, especially the more elaborate versions, run around $100 but if you shop around you could get one for about half that.
In addition to Santas (with and without Rudolph at his side), our neighbors have giant blow-up snowmen and there’s even a Grinch in his faux Santa garb down the street. These are cute in a kitschy way, but I sometimes worry what the kiddies think when, before the air pump is turned on each day, they see a deflated Santa sprawled across a yard.