Since the Internal Revenue Service announced that the goody bags and luxury giveaway suites that surround awards ceremonies and film festivals are no longer freebies but taxable income, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said it would eliminate the luxurious gift baskets it customarily offers to Oscar presenters, starting with next year's show.
And it wasn't just the Oscars. This week, an array of Emmy-timed swag suites opened for business ahead of the Aug. 27 awards show. The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences said it has also informed this year's Emmy presenters that their gift bags are taxable, but would not say whether it planned on eliminating the bags altogether.
"There was an awful lot of publicity about the ever-increasing value of these baskets," IRS Commissioner Mark V. Everson said. "And somebody said, 'Why don't we do something about this?' It was just so clearly taxable we felt we had to step in."
Everson said the effort was linked to his drive to bring "a sense of fairness that resonates throughout the system. You can't let the rich get away with something."
And you know who was most responsible for the publicity surrounding the free ride of swag bags, at least in Toobworld?
That is, Christopher Moltisanti, seen in 'The Sopranos'. While out in Hollywood with hopes of snaring Sir Ben Kingsley to star in the movie he was producing (which was a cross between "The Godfather" and "Saw"), he accompanied Kingsley on his jaunt through one of those giveaway suites.
Later, overcome with jealousy that he was on the outside looking in when it came to the Hollywood scene, Christopher mugged the legendary Lauren Bacall for her gift basket!
Maybe the IRS ended up doing the entertainment elite a favor by ending the free ride - once word got out that Mz. Betty's booty was easy prey, copycats might have figured on swooping in to rob other stars of their gift bags.