April 22, 2014

Tag Archives: Internal Revenue Service

Critics’ Choice: Joey Berlin from BFCA

Joey Berlin from the Broadcast Film Critics Association – Critics’ Choice Awards
In 1995, Joey Berlin and Rod Lurie, two entertainment reporters and film critics who had written for rival publications, joined forces to create the Broadcast Film Critics Assn.
While Lurie would go on to carve out a successful Hollywood career as a screenwriter and director with such films as “The Contender” and “The Last Castle,” Berlin hasn’t faired too badly, either, as the president of the BFCA.
Starting with 44 members the first year, the BFCA’s voting membership today hovers between 285 and 290 and the organization bills itself as the largest film critics group in the U.S. and Canada.
At the same time, the BFCA created the Critics’ Choice Awards, a glitzy tux-and-gown gala now televised on the CW Network that features red carpet celebrity arrivals, drawing worldwide media attention and plenty of Oscar buzz since the show coincides with the run-up to the Academy Awards.
But as the show has catapulted the broadcast critics into the Oscar conversation each movies awards season, tax records show that the nonprofit group Berlin leads has paid his privately-owned company, Berlin Entertainment, Inc., hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for production services.
Read prior Broadcast Film Critics Association story here at Hollywoodnews.com
IRS Form 990 filings list Berlin Entertainment, Inc., receiving a combined $992,270 from the nonprofit between fiscal 2009 and 2011.
Berlin notes that his members seem to be satisfied with the job he’s doing since he has been repeatedly re-elected president every two years.
The tax files show that Berlin’s base compensation and benefits were a combined $1,297,133 for the three-year period spanning fiscal 2009 to 2011. But his compensation is listed as coming from “related organizations” and not directly from the BFCA, according to the Form 990 documents, which all nonprofits are required to file with the IRS to qualify for tax-exempt status.
When asked about his sizeable compensation, Berlin told HollywoodNews.com in a recent telephone interview: “I did this for five years for zero compensation, but this is what I do all day, every day. I’m really proud of what we’ve built and accomplished….
“My compensation has grown with the growth of the show,” he adds without apology. “The television show is an incredible benefit to the members.” He notes that these benefits include such things as access and awards screeners. “That seems a comfortable arrangement for everybody.”
One [...]

Film Festival: Palm Springs Gold

25th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala – Awards Presentation. Meryl Streep and Margo Martindale
It’s no mirage.
After a quarter-century, and some early struggles, the Palm Springs International Film Festival has seen its visibility and star quotient rise significantly by tapping into Hollywood’s hotly contested movie awards season.
The festival’s success—it now draws about 130,000 attendees—has come without a lucrative television deal for its black-tie gala similar to ones enjoyed by the Golden Globes and the Critics’ Choice Awards.
The festival was the brainchild of the late Palm Springs Mayor Sonny Bono, who rose to stardom as half of the pop singing duo Sonny and Cher and later became a U.S. congressman representing the Coachella Valley. Bono died in a 1998 skiing accident.
Harold Matzner, a local businessman and philanthropist who was a close friend and tennis partner of Bono’s, eventually took over the financially struggling festival and improved its bottom line.
A patron of the arts, Matzner not only chairs the film festival but also chairs the McCallum Theatre, is vice president on the board of trustees at the Palm Springs Art Museum, and his other philanthropic efforts include Desert AIDS Project, Stroke Recovery Center, Temple Isaiah and Animal Samaritans. He owns Spencer’s restaurant in Palm Springs.
Matzner has credited the late Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen for helping him get Hollywood studios to send movie stars being mentioned for the Oscars to be honored at the Palm Springs festival’s black-tie gala. Chasen was murdered in 2010 in a drive-by shooting in Beverly Hills as she drove her black Mercedes-Benz and police concluded it was a random attack carried out by a transient riding a bike.
Matzner chairs the tax-exempt organization behind the festival—the Palm Springs International Film Society.
The film society’s Form 990 tax returns that are filed annually with the IRS show that the nonprofit has achieved success as the film festival has become more popular.
The tax filings show that:
*The film festival had more than $26 million in total support from fiscal years 2005-06 to 2012-13.
*Revenues totaled $3.9million and expenses totaled $3.3 million in fiscal 2012-13.
*No grants were listed from fiscal 2009-10 to 2012-13.
*Chairman Matzner and other board members received no compensation for their work on the festival.
*The nonprofit paid Spencer’s restaurant $117,525 for catering and use of its facilities in fiscal 2012-13 and $113,912 in fiscal 2011-12.
*The nonprofit paid Wessman Development Co. $89,896 and $90,638 for the same [...]

Lindsay Lohan’s bank accounts seized by IRS

HollywoodNews.com: Lindsay Lohan just can’t get things right these days as it is reported that her bank accounts have recently been seized by the IRS.
Lindsay reportedly owes over $200,000 to the IRS even though Charlie Sheen tried to help by paying $100,000 of her debt, states TMZ. Now, as she has already been given plenty of time to pay, she had her accounts seized so that the IRS can get their money.
Lindsay is allegedly panicking about her financial situation and trying to figure out how to make some money fast.
Do you think she’ll get it together?
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Charlie Sheen reportedly gave Lindsay Lohan money to pay IRS debt

HollywoodNews.com: It seems that Charlie Sheen has it so together these days that he is actually helping out other troubled stars.
It is being rumored that Sheen recently gave Lindsay Lohan $100,000 to help her pay her debt to the IRS, states Hollyscoop. After the two worked together on ‘Scary Movie 5,’ he reportedly offered to help her pay some of her $233,904 debt to the IRS.
While she initially declined, he allegedly ended up sending her business manager a check anyway which was gladly accepted.
What do you think about this?
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Oprah is pushing a new guru!

I don’t know how she does it: it was only six years ago that Oprah Winfrey was touting new age nut Eckhart Tolle as the all time genius of the world. He was her spiritual mentor. Winfrey actually ran podcasts and internet classes with the guy who has since quietly vanished from the spotlight. Now, maybe because she’s in her own personal crisis with her OWN network, Oprah is pushing a new guru. (She still hawks Marianne Williamson.) This guy is named Michael Singer, author of a book called “The Untethered Soul.”
But Michael Singer is indeed better known in his hometown of Alachua, Florida as Mickey Singer. And in 2005 he was indicted in a massive government fraud case against his company Medical Manager Health Systems, which was an offshoot of WebMD. http://www.gainesville.com/article/20051216/LOCAL/212160339 Singer was accused with nine others of inflating Medical Manager Health Systems profits, and of conspiring to launder money.
Two years after the indictment, Singer donated $100,000 of new computer software to the Alachua Police Department. By the time the case was over in 2010, Singer settled with the government by paying a $2.5 million settlement. The government dropped all charges. Singer acknowledged that the accounting practices of his company were illegal but–according to the agreement hammered out between his powerful Washington DC lawyers from Baker Botts and local Florida prosecutors–didn’t know it was taking place at the time. http://tinyurl.com/c9u3y4m
Later, the people actually convicted by the government had their verdicts overturned based on a lapsed statute of limitations. http://www.gainesville.com/article/20100303/articles/3031013
Now Singer will appear on Oprah’s Sunday Soul show this weekend on OWN. After his long adventure with the government, Singer–who was an early software multi-millionaire in the medical systems field–became a guru. He started something called the Temple of the Universe outside of Gainesville, Florida. He has lots of followers, but I’m not sure you could call it an actual cult. Temple of the Universe is registered with the IRS as a religion and has non profit tax status. But they’ve filed no public papers about their finances. They don’t even come up on Charity Navigator. But Singer is selling books and CDs and conducting new age classes and lectures.
Odds are Oprah will not be asking him about all this other stuff on Sunday’s show.
To read more go to WWW>SHOWBIZ411.COM
(republished from earlier this week)

Lavish Oscar Week Gifting to the Stars

By Beck/Smith
HollywoodNews.com:There are about a dozen gifting suites handing out swag to Oscar nominees, presenters and other stars this week. Perhaps the most popular destination for prestige pampering — certainly one of the busiest — is the Roger Neal Style Hollywood Oscar Suite at the L’Ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills.
As of yesterday (2/23), some 200 stars and 10 nominees had already visited the suite, including Wendi McLendon Covey, Oscar presenter and “Bridesmaids” star, with her friend, Oscar nominee for Best Screenplay honors for “Bridesmaids,” Annie Mumolo. We’re told they loved
their Raju Rasiah Beverly Hills rings, and their GM Collin SKincare Paris kit.
Richard Middleson, “The Artist’s” executive producer, came with his wife Katherine. She fell for a Shekar Rahate gown, saying she felt it was perfect to represent the movie. Shekar customized the dress just for her in 24 hours.
Oscar nominee Eimear O’Kane, (Live Action Short Film), found her jewelry and handbag for the Oscars at the suite from Timmy Woods.
Penelope Ann Miller from “The Artist” came away with a stay at Belleek Castle in Ireland, as well as a collection of Classified Cosmetics
Stars ranging from Rene Taylor to Lorenzo Lamas to Eric Roberts enjoyed their Bob Marley Coffee and Lorimar Winery wine.
The pampering offered to stars at the RNSH suites ranged from manicures to waxing, facials, “instant eye lifts” and massages.
The gifting suite practice, which took a hit a few years ago when the IRS decided to demand its share, is in full-swing again this awards year. All this giving out of designer clothing, luxury trips, expensive gadgets and myriad edible and drinkable goodies are a win-win for the stars and companies involved. The celebs get to load up on fabulous freebies, while product makers and designers get valuable celebrity endorsements at relatively low cost. It’s also standard to see a charity or eco-minded tie-in for the suites. In the case of RNSH, it’s The Andy Transplant Foundation.
To read more go to Beck/Smith Hollywood
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The Osbournes owe some serious back tax money

HollywoodNews.com: Apparently Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne need to pay closer attention to their finances as it seems that they are in a little bit of tax trouble.
It is being reported that the couple owes about $1.7 million in back taxes, states Financial Planning. As a result of the money owed, the IRS has reportedly placed a lien on the couple’s Los Angeles home.
The money the Osbournes owe is from 2008 and 2009.
Sharon has reportedly addressed the matter on her Twitter page: “[C]an’t rely on anyone else. You have to be on top of your own business affairs. My fault—lesson learned.”
Do you think these two will get their money under control?
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REVIEW: Saggy main course almost dooms “Dinner for Schmucks”

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Dinner for Schmucks (**1/2 out of 4 stars)
Jay Roach’s “Dinner for Schmucks” starts strong. It even ends strong. It’s that saggy, aimless middle section that might leave an unsatisfied taste in your mouth.
The cringe comedy tears out of the gate riding a stream of consistent, uproarious laughs as it establishes its premise, which Roach lifted from Francis Veber’s French comedy “Le Diner de Cons,” which he admires. Paul Rudd plays Tim, a ladder-climbing financial analyst with a gorgeous girlfriend (Stephanie Szostak) and realistic dreams of graduating from his company’s sixth floor (where the minions grumble) to the seventh (where the elite rub elbows).
To get there, Tim must participate in his boss’s cruel game: Find a fool and bring him or her to dinner so the supposedly superior can chuckle at their misfortunes. Initially Tim balks, believing the practice to be, as he says, “messed up.” But the game changes once he runs, literally, into Barry (Steve Carell), a clueless dweeb with a passion for taxidermy — resulting in the film’s funniest running joke — but a lack of social aptitude or a verbal filter.
Carell’s presence usually enhances the comedic potential in a situation. Not so with “Schmucks.” The actor’s approach to Barry is so bizarre, so off-the-rails, it sufficiently separates Tim’s predicament from the tiny corner of reality it once occupied.
There is a dichotomy in “Schmucks” that bears exploring. Tim believes Barry is his ticket to a better life. Of course, the longer Tim lingers in Barry’s presence, the more destruction — both personal and physical — this senseless stranger creates.
And yet, as Barry throws out Tim’s back, scares off his girlfriend, invites a lingering stalker (Lucy Punch) into the mix, and tosses him to the IRS for an unfortunate audit, we find ourselves wondering if anyone — even someone who is supposed to be an idiot — would behave this way. Roach sets up a scene where Punch chases Carell around Rudd’s apartment. She’s obsessed with Tim, and wants to make him jealous by pretending to sexually spank Barry. Before long, she is throwing wine bottles at Barry’s head, shattering glass shelves and picture frames. Carell disrupts her amorous charge by playing dead, and Punch simply walks out. The scene works up a good deal of energy before going nowhere.
A number of scenes in “Schmucks” follow the same template, [...]

Will Smith cuts charitable donations to Scientology

By Roger Friedman
HollywoodNews.com: Good news: Will Smith didn’t make any charitable donations to Scientology last year.
In the recent past, Smith’s private self-named charitable foundation had donated thousands of dollars to groups associated with Scientology.
So despite Will and wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s recent appearance at a Scientology lunch in Hollywood with celebrity disciples Tom Cruise and Jenna Elfman, the couple is not giving the cultish group tax free contributions any more.
last year the Smiths handed over $70,000 to Scientology groups. Will once equated the Christian bible with Scientology in an interview. That didn’t go over too well.
This time, instead, the Will Smith Foundation, in papers just filed with the IRS and Guidestar.org, turned its attention elsewhere. Smith gave away about $575,475 in 2009. Another place he could have contributed money but didn’t? His New Village Academy in Calabasas, California. There’s no entry for it. New Village, which has yet to file its own first Form 990 with the IRS, still advertises Scientology teaching on its curriculum list.
The Smiths did some interesting things with their money. A lot of it went to Christian ministries and teaching, including $12,800 to a group called Daughters of Power, in Beverly Hills. It’s an organization that does sort of Christian finishing for teenage girls.
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“Twilight” vs. “True Blood”: which series has better vamps?

By Kim Palacios
After reading Stephen Moyer’s comments comparing “True Blood” to “Twilight”, a compelling question arose: would a closer look at their characters prove his opinion to be true? Moyers’ interpretation respectfully praised “Twilight’s” appeal to a younger demographic while insisting that “True Blood” was more mature. Yet, a comparison of vampire attributes may reveal the “Twilight” vamps as more grown up:
“Twilight” vamps live in relative peace. Twilight Saga vampires, after centuries of existence, have formed an effective government structure (i.e., the Volturi). In “Twilight”, vampires may enjoy peace for as long as a small number of transparent rules are followed. Yet, the “True Blood” supernaturals have a government of cutthroat “politicians” constantly embroiled in the trappings of humans. Sex, drugs, war, money, and power are staples of “True Blood” vamp society, whereas in “Twilight” such trappings are rarities if they are seen at all.
“Twilight” vamps can’t easily be overpowered by humans or werewolves. The “True Blood” series opener showed humans capturing Bill so they could harvest his blood to sell as a drug. In the season three opener, Bill was kidnapped again—this time by werewolves. The “Twilight” vampires may find their match in other immortals, but would not be captured without a fight. They also cannot be overpowered in any way by humans.
“Twilight” vamps know how to dispose of bodies and aren’t afraid of the IRS. Season three of “True Blood” has exposed many weaknesses of its vampires, most noticeably a lack of savvy. Whereas human-feeding “Twilight” vamps are crafty enough to kill at will and elude police, more than one recent episode of “True Blood” has shown Jessica’s inability to hide evidence of a human she unintentionally killed. Also proof of the “Twilight” vamps’ maturity is their ability to handle money. Forbes Magazine named Carlisle Cullen the wealthiest fictional character of all time. Meanwhile, “True Blood’s” Queen is in trouble with IRS.
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Questions? Tips? E-mail me! kpblog@hollywoodnews.com
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