Dear IRS: Orangutan Hairs Are Legit!
As you know, our client is dying to share his tax returns with American voters before the upcoming presidential election. However, he has prudently chosen to wait until your agency has completed its unfair audit of his Form 1040 filings.
Mr. Trump is offended and outraged that your inspectors have questioned several business expenses that he listed under Part V of Schedule C. We will address each of these disputed issues forthwith:
1. “Miscellaneous Hair Harvesting Fees — $767,000.”
Mr. Trump’s unique mane has become a key visual emblem of his business brand. All costs associated with the maintenance and enhancement of his hair should be deductible.
The silky orange strands on Mr. Trump’s head come from the armpits of Pongo pygmaeus, an orangutan found only in the rain forests of Borneo. Authorities there are protective of these rare animals, and have imposed upon Mr. Trump a fee of $1,000 for each harvested hair.
Mr. Trump asserts that this is a legitimate business expense, and it should not be challenged by the IRS.
2. “Orangutan Pacification Program — $315,400.”
Borneo’s orangutans are mostly peaceful creatures, but when provoked they are capable of attacking human intruders. Therefore, removing armpit hairs from an adult specimen can be both challenging and dangerous.
When Mr. Trump heard that orangutans can be soothed by classical music, he immediately arranged to fly a string quartet from the New York Philharmonic Orchestra to the jungle of Borneo.
There the musicians performed Schubert’s famous String Quartet No. 14 in D minor, also known as “Death and the Maiden,” which soon caused the orangutans to fall into a deep sleep. During that time, extraction experts hired by Mr. Trump successfully removed approximately 767 hairs from several adult male and female orangutans.
The high cost of this project was borne entirely by Mr. Trump. He used his personal aircraft to transport the string quartet to Indonesia and paid full union-scale wages for the musicians’ performance. He also reimbursed them for their malaria shots.
Because no other species of wild primate produces the unusual gossamer hair compatible with Mr. Trump’s image, we contend that the Borneo trip was a legitimate and necessary business expense under the current tax rules.
3. “Replace Damaged Viola (and bow) — $6,223.”
Through no fault of Mr. Trump, one of the juvenile orangutans awakened near the end of the quartet’s performance and went after the viola player. The man escaped unharmed, but his expensive instrument was seized from him and reduced to splinters by the testy young ape.
Mr. Trump considers this loss to be a deductible expense, no different from replacing a tire that blows out on one of his jets.
4. “Solarium Upgrade at Trump Tower — $178,655.”
Because Borneo’s equatorial climate is much warmer and humid than that of midtown Manhattan, Mr. Trump hired a contractor to enlarge and upgrade the solarium and tanning salon in his penthouse.
Without such improvements, which include an orchid-scented humidifier, the orangutan hairs obtained and curated by Mr. Trump would eventually lose their texture, sheen and special ginger hue.
In time, the strands would become brittle and break free from the thermoplastic micro-staples attaching them to Mr. Trump’s scalp. Clearly, the solarium modifications are essential for Mr. Trump to maintain his current appearance, and the growth of his brand.
5. “Personal Grooming Assistance — $322,399.”
As one of the most photographed figures in the world, Mr. Trump is puzzled by your agency’s failure to understand his need for a staff to assist with his daily grooming.
Many movie stars and TV celebrities less important than Mr. Trump employ teams of such assistants. They might not be paid as highly as Mr. Trump’s, but we would argue that the fees paid to his stylists are reasonable considering the challenges they face.
Mr. Trump can’t just walk into a Supercuts for a quick trim. It requires specialized skills to painstakingly comb, layer and shape 767 delicate hairs — and to keep them flawlessly in place for scores of TV interviews and town-hall gatherings. The stylists who work on Mr. Trump earn every penny he pays them, and the IRS has no cause to disallow these expenses on his tax returns.
He is looking forward to a timely completion of your audit, and would hugely appreciate it if you didn’t leak the part about the Borneo trip to any reporters.
Carl Hiaasen is a columnist for the Miami Herald. Readers may write to him at: 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla., 33132.
(c) 2016, The Miami Herald Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Photo: U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Century Center in South Bend, Indiana, U.S., May 2, 2016. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski