Blown To Bits

Be Careful About Your Internet Boasting

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008 by Harry Lewis

Two Oklahoma college students partnered with local restaurants to run parties and invite the public. Men paid a $5 cover charge, and women were let in free. Their little venture, which they dubbed Kegheadz, ran 22 parties in all. Some lost money, some cleared a few hundred dollars. It sounds typically collegiate. They didn’t bother with niceties if becoming a real business, filing forms with the government and paying taxes.

Then one day a tax bill arrived: $320,000. Where did that number come from? According to a report in the Oklahoman,

Tax officials got the wrong idea because of embellishments on the Kegheadz MySpace Web site that boasted things like “Over a billion served,” “Biggest party in the state,” and “Biggest party in the country,” Glover said.

The tax office is inferring head counts and percapita consumption from such statements, and calculating profits and taxes owed accordingly. The students are trying to explain that that was all baloney, and that they don’t even have enough money to hire a lawyer to defend themselves, much less pay that kind of money. The tax officials seem pretty humorless, but I suppose that is the way such officials have always been.

When you put it out on the Internet, anyone can see it. Even if you’re putting it out there to be intentionally outrageous, you may want to be careful what you say!

It would be interesting to know just how this came about. Are the tax authorities spending less time visiting businesses and going over their books, and more time just cruising the Web from the comfort and safety of their offices, looking for businesses, whether Internet businesses or not, that seem bigger than their corporate tax returns say they are?

3 Responses to “Be Careful About Your Internet Boasting”

  1. Alfred Thompson Says:

    This is more or less what brought down the infamous Studio 54 except that they did their boasting to a reporter and the tax people read the article in a magazine.

  2. Harry Lewis Says:

    Was their boast true?

  3. Blown to Bits » Blog Archive » The Checks on Joe the Plumber Says:

    […] case resembles one we reported earlier, when Oklahoma tax officials went to town after reading students’ boasting about the success […]