ACORN- the seedy (couldn't resist) organization was caught on tape advertising journalists posing as a "pimp" and "prostitute" to lie to the IRS. (Watch it here.) ACORN, which stands for "The Association of Community Organization for Reform Now", has noble aspirations. Affordable Housing, Better Schools, Health Care, Immigration, Voter Engagement, and Fair Tax Fees. This is where ACORN gets into trouble.
Background: In the tape, James O'Keefe, a 25-year-old indie filmmaker posted as a pimp with a 20-year-old woman named "Kenya" who posed as a prostitute. They told ACORN staffers they wanted to secure housing to continue their prostitution business. Here's just a few of the big tax offenses this "Pimp" and "Prostitute" duo were told to commit on film:
ACORNS' Tax Crimes, Caught on Tape:
- "Kenya" tells an ACORN staffer that she earns $8,000/month. The ACORN worker suggests submitting a tax return for 2008 showing that she made $9,600 for the entire year — instead of $96,000.
-An ACORN staffer suggests that the prostitute list her occupation as a freelance "performing artist." The "Pimp" protests, "It's not dancing, trust me," but the ACORN staffer insists that this is completely okay.
-The "Pimp" reveals that he and "Kenya" plan to bring up to 13 "very young" girls from El Salvador to work as prostitutes. The ACORN staffer suggests claiming them as dependents.
-The "Pimp" says the girls will be working for him, the ACORN staffer says "If they making money and they are underage, then you shouldn't be letting anybody know anyway," then laughs. "It's illegal. So I am not hearing this, I am not hearing this. You talk too much. Don't give up no information you're not asked."
-The staffer suggests that up to three of the underage girls can be listed as dependents at the home, but a "flag" will be raised if as many as 13 are listed. "You are gonna use three of them," the staffer says. "They are gonna be under 16, so you is eligible to get child tax credit and additional child tax credit."
-The "Pimp" asks what would happen if the organization is connected to the scheme and gets this reply, "First of all, it's not gonna damage us because we not gonna know. And with your girls, you tell them, 'Be careful.' Train them to keep their mouth shut."
A seemingly benevolent organization, out to help taxpayers in need might not be what it seems. If anyone you choose to work with willing selling you outlandish "shortcuts" to resolving your tax debt problems, don't work with them. If you get caught, you'll go down. If you need help with your taxes, only work with reputable, reliable professionals.