The Nation: Deductible Bribes

Anyone who doubts the flexibility, not to say the stupefying broad-mindedness of bureaucracy, should consult the Internal Revenue Service's official taxpayers' guide. The pamphlet advises: "Bribes and kickbacks to nongovernmental officials are deductible unless the individual has been convicted of making the bribe or has entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere."

The interpretation is based on the Tax Reform Act of 1969. Says an IRS expert: "Suppose a guy gets a kickback from an insurance broker for referring customers to him. Unless he's convicted or pleads guilty or nolo contendere [no contest], the broker is entitled to a deduction." In...

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