[Reprinted from an undated pamphlet, Simple Talks
on Taxation, published by the author]
Honey, I've just thought up a brilliant idea! How'd you like to
make over Fifty thousand dollars?
not going to make some crazy investment, are you?
Hey! Don't be so suspicious
of my financial genius!
why did you ask such a silly question?
Because there's a matter of
Fifty thousand dollars that you can get if you use my idea, or
lose, if you don't.
do you mean?
Well, you know that I had
Six hundred thousand dollars when we were married and that it
was all mine.
And you know that I'm one
of those robust, healthy fellers that often surprise their
families and friends by suddenly dropping dead.
And if I drop dead, you'd
be my heir.
And, as the Six hundred
thousand isn't community property, you'd inherit it from me.
let's not talk about you dropping dead.
You're very sweet, to want
to quit, but just one word more. You'd have a whale of a tax on
the Six hundred thousand. Seventy-two thousand and fifty
dollars, to be exact.
suppose so. But I don't see how it can be avoided.
That's where your genius of
a husband comes in. I do. At least to the extent of Fifty-one
thousand, eight hundred dollars.
Is there something that we ought to do?
Sure. But you might think
it was a little drastic.
it would save all that money, what is it that we ought to do?
Oh, I mean in a nice way,
of course. You'd go to Reno for a few weeks. I wouldn't contest.
We'd make a property settlement, and -
on earth are you talking about?
Dearest, it's this way. If
you inherit the Six hundred thousand now, the government is
going to hold you up for Seventy-two thousand and Fifty dollars.
But there is no tax on a property settlement. No matter what you
get from me, there's no tax on a property settlement.
getting a divorce!
Wait a minute. You will
demand a considerable sum - three hundred thousand dollars - it
might be that I will have to arrange to be caught in "flagrante
delicti" or whatever it is, so your demand would be big,
and I would submit rather than endure unpleasant publicity -
Let me finish. Now there'd
be two estates, and when I die you'll only pay taxes on my
estate. That would be Twenty thousand, two hundred and fifty,
instead of Seventy-two thousand.
but we'd be divorced!
Oh, that. It would only be
for a little while, then we'd re-marry, put our two estates in a
trust, and good, kind old Uncle Sam would make us a wedding
present of Fifty-one thousand, eight hundred dollars!
I think your idea is horrid! And besides, when we re-married,
we'd be right back where we were before.
No. We wouldn't. Between us
we'd have the Six hundred thousand, but one-half would be yours
and one-half would be mine. Then all I would have to do is die,
and you'd soon see the value of my idea.
if I decided not to re-marry you?
That is an unthinkable,
intolerable and untenable hypothesis! To begin with, you'd lose
over Seventy-two thousand dollars. Then, though broken-hearted,
I'd marry - someone else, of course. She and I would go through
the same routine - get divorced and remarry. It's as simple as
nice Mr. Willard lives in Reno, doesn't he?
Yes. But why do you ask?
I don't know. Just wondering what I'd do up there, I suppose.