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Another year, another food article

Austin Lewis

Managing Editor

It’s tax time again, which means pressing pause on Spidell’s podcasts and turning things over to the Tax Season Tribune. And what does our Tribune staff love more than writing about food? Not much! In past years, we’ve covered whether a burrito is a sandwich, how long it takes to eat 30,000 Big Macs, and ordering pizza from Domino’s (that last one is sprinkled with plenty of puns).

First up this year is a lawsuit that made news late last year, where a food manufacturer is accused of selling mozzarella sticks that don’t actually contain any mozzarella.1 You can’t make this stuff up — or you can, apparently, if you use cheddar cheese instead.

That’s exactly what plaintiff Amy Joseph has accused Inventure Foods, Inc. of doing with its “TGI Fridays Mozzarella Sticks.” The ingredients listed on the packaging include cheddar cheese, but there’s no mention of mozzarella.

In a court ruling,2 U.S. District Judge Robert M. Dow, Jr., wrote, “Defendants argue that [the product] bears no resemblance to the hot appetizer mozzarella cheese sticks and therefore, does not necessarily contain mozzarella cheese.”

Dow continued, “[A]nother reasonable interpretation is that a product labelled “Mozzarella Stick Snacks” with an image of mozzarella sticks would bear some resemblance to mozzarella sticks, which presumably contain some mozzarella cheese.”

Inventure Foods has sold products under the TGI Fridays name for more than 20 years and the lawsuit names both companies, but Dow’s December ruling ordered the restaurant chain be dropped from the lawsuit before it proceeds as a class action. What a happy hour for TGIF!

TGIF Mozzarella sticks bag

Made money reselling concert tickets? Don’t just “Shake it Off”

Diane Fuller

Contributing Editor

If you have not yet bought tickets to Taylor Swift’s upcoming Eras tour, be prepared to lay out some serious cash. Reportedly, fans attempting to buy tickets through Ticketmaster crashed the website last November. The alternative was to buy tickets through resale sites — for thousands of dollars. One floor seat ticket for Swift’s East Rutherford, New Jersey, show was selling for $31,500 on StubHub.1 Other tickets were listed for at least $12,000 on Gametime. For her part, Swift said that it was “excruciating” to watch the Ticketmaster meltdown (cue Swift singing “Teardrops on My Guitar”).

Resellers of these concert tickets may not realize that the money they make from the resale is subject to federal tax, and they may fail to report it (cue Swift’s “I Did Something Bad”). With such high ticket sale prices, it will be easy to exceed the threshold for the 1099-K reporting requirements for third-party settlement organizations like StubHub. Under the American Rescue Plan Act, the $20,000 per payee or 200 transaction thresholds for filing 1099-Ks has been replaced by the considerably lower $600 per-payee threshold (but the implementation of this has been delayed for now). So the resale of just one Taylor Swift ticket will potentially soar through the threshold once it is implemented.

Obviously many more people will be receiving 1099-Ks once the new threshold goes into effect. The amount must be reported and will be taxed as ordinary income (cue Swift’s “Don’t Blame Me”).

Stop by your local Little Free (Accounting) Library

Kathryn Zdan, EA

Editorial Director

You may have seen a Little Free Library on a neighbor’s front lawn: a small structure housing a collection of books that anyone can borrow. A look inside usually reveals an assortment of fiction and nonfiction and books for both children and adults. However, over the summer of 2022 it was reported1 that some sick person had left behind a book other than the usual banal fare … an accounting textbook. Specifically, the seventh edition of Managerial Accounting by Ronald W. Hilton.

The first line of the reporting article asked: “What kind of monster does this?!”

I looked up managerial accounting and fell asleep halfway through the second sentence of the Wikipedia page devoted to the subject.2 Therefore, I have deduced that 1) whoever added this book to the Little Free Library did so as a service to anyone having trouble sleeping, and 2) there should be more nighttime accounting books in Little Free Libraries. Titles could include:

  • Goodnight, Mortgage Insurance Premium Deduction
  • Dream Tax Software: A Bedtime Journey
  • Don’t Let the Commissioner Stay Up Late
  • Where Do IRS Transcript Codes Sleep at Night?

A few fun facts about this week’s writers:

Kathryn Zdan, EA

Kathryn Zdan, EA, spends her non-Spidell hours on photography and watching horror films (and then sleeping with the light on). She also enjoys hiking, biking, and watching foreign films.

Austin Lewis

Austin Lewis loves music and the outdoors, and if he’s not going to a concert you can probably find him on a hike somewhere. Last summer he traveled to Peru, where he spent seven days on the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu.

Diane Fuller

Diane Fuller loves to read, cook, and go to Ketchum/Sun Valley, Idaho, as many times as possible during the year with her family including grandkids and dogs.

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