The blow was softened somewhat for those who walked away without an Oscar - A goodie bag said to be worth up to $211K was the consolidation prize for each Academy Award nominee in the major categories.
Luxury trips include the Rockies train journey at $14,500, a three-night stay in Tuscany ($1,900) and a “glamping” trip to a destination of the recipient’s choosing, which costs $16,000. The celebrities also receive a year’s Audi A4 rental ($25,000), a sweet and dessert buffet ($1,000) a delivery of “natural French Mediterranean sea salts” and a $25,000 appointment with a Hollywood “dream interpreter”
The $25,000 gift certificate for the services of Olessia Kantor, founder of a company called Enigma Life, who will meet each nominee “to discuss their 2015 horoscope, analyze dreams and teach them mind control technique.”
Interestingly and perhaps not particularly politically correct: there is a $5,000 “liposuction and fat reduction package” on offer.
However, the recipients of these goodie bags could also find something else landing on their doormats: a hefty tax bill.
The last time the value topped six figures, in 2005, it prompted the Internal Revenue Service to begin an “outreach campaign” in Hollywood.
In general, the person has received taxable income equal to the fair market value of the bag and its contents
“These gift bags are not gifts for federal income tax purposes because the organizations and merchants who participate in giving the gift bags do not do so solely out of affection, respect, or similar impulses for the recipients of the gift bags,” the IRS said at the time.
“In general, the person has received taxable income equal to the fair market value of the bag and its contents, and must report that amount on his or her federal income tax return.” The then-IRS commissioner, Mark Everson, put it more clearly: “There’s no special red carpet tax loophole for the stars.”
The Academy voted to discontinue the practice of giving goodie bags in 2006, the same year that the IRS began showing an interest.
They are now provided by an unaffiliated company, Distinctive Assets, which says it has “spearheaded the proliferation of award show swag.” Lash Fary, founder of Distinctive Assets, said: “We aren’t doing this as a charitable initiative. We do it because it makes sense for many brands to align their products with the stars. Brands benefit by associating with celebrities.”