Fantasy Authors, Tax Policy & Veil Piercing

Pat Rothfuss, author of the best-selling fantasy novel “The Name of the Wind, and an interviewee in my “Law and Hard Fantasy” series, has a post up on his blog ruminating about tax policy and incorporation.

Up until this year, I’ve always gotten money back because I’ve lived well below the poverty line. This year, I got to give them money. It was, as they say, more fun than getting kicked in the throat. Mostly.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against taxes. Everyone loves to bitch about them, but taxes pay for schools, and roads, and snowplows, and sewage treatment plants. My friends have a son who is autistic, and the government helps them by bringing in well-trained people.

These things are important. If that’s all my taxes went toward, I would pay them gladly. I would sing a song while writing out the check.

However, we all know that’s not the case.

So, under the advice of several wise people, I’ve decided to start a corporation. This is supposed to prevent the government from taking quite as big a bite out of my ass for next year’s taxes.

It doesn’t seem right, honestly. The corporation is just me: I own it. And this corporation (let’s call it Me-corp) will be employing me. That, apparently, is different from being actually self-employed. Sorry? What? How does that work?

I guess what it comes down to is that the government is really, really dumb. Dumb enough so that if I put on sock on one of my hands and use it as a puppet, it will be convinced that the puppet is actually paying the taxes, not me.

But I’m not above exploiting a loophole in the system. So all that remains is to figure out what to call this corporation. I having trouble picking a name. Names are important things, you know. They tell you a great deal about a… a corporation.

I’m not an expert in tax law, so I’ll leave discussion of the income-sheltering aspects of this structure to the experts, but I know something about corporate veil piercing. And I’ll just say that calling a corporation a “puppet” would seem to make it less likely that a court would consider it a bona fide entity for the purpose of shielding a shareholder’s personal assets in any suit against Me.corp.

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2 Responses

  1. So he paid instead of getting money back – if it was paid on 4/15 without penalty then he did a good job of tax planning…unless he likes lending money to the governmemt interest-free.

    As to a new corporate identity: Single-member LLC? S-Corp? C-Corp? Trust me – if it was that easy, we’d all be doing it.

  2. Cathy says:

    I keep hearing radio commercials out in California for one of those “Get Rich” seminars, and there’s always a testimonial by this woman who brags, “I’ve got a C corp, 2 S corps, 6 LLCs…” etc., and all I can think on hearing this is that she’d better hope she never gets sued, because some lawyer’s gonna love to pierce her corporate veil.

    (I also can’t help thinking that it taps into some interesting American myth that if you can incorporate into a business, you’ve somehow “made it.”)