The Internal Revenue Service is everywhere. An item in the newspaper the other day revealed that IRS agents had their field glasses focused on the VIP boxes in Philadelphia Veterans Stadium for the World Series. The boxes are, for the most part, owned by corporations who use them to entertain their customers.
The reason the IRS was watching so carefully was that in order to make the boxes a deductible business expense, "Businessmen entertaining clients must engage in the active conduct of business during the entertainment with the person being entertained. The active conduct of the business must be the principal aspect of the combined business and entertainment."
This has made many businessmen who take their customers to sports events very nervous.
I was at the Meadowlands watching a New York Giants football game a week after the IRS ruling was publicized, and I happened to be sitting in a box next to two men who apparently were in the dress business. I overheard their conversation.
"Now Sam, the reason I brought you here today is I wanted you to see my new spring line."
"I'd like to watch the game, Irving, if it's all the same to you."
"You see the green jerseys the Giants are wearing? That's the green we're using in our pullover sequin disco dresses. The jerseys will be cut a little lower at the neck than what the tackles are wearing, but the sleeves will be the same length and you can roll them up like the guards have done."
"Irving, it's third down and inches to go. Will you please shut up."
"You're probably wondering what I've done with my pantsuits. Would you believe we've designed a knicker just like the center is wearing? You can wear them with bright wool socks. The women will go crazy for them. We're offering them in Redskin Maroon, Oiler Blue, Steeler Black or Cleveland Brown."
"They missed the first down! They're going to have to kick."
"You won't have any kick coming, Sam, if you take the whole line, I guarantee you you'll be sorry you didn't order more. We also have a teen-age look this year with leather belts in goal-line stripes."
"Look, Irving, the left end hurt his shoulder."
"I'm glad you mentioned that. We have a lace off-the/shoulder gown that Dior cohuldn't duplicate for $1,000."
"The trainer is taking off the end's shoulder pads."
"Sam, this model doesn't have shoulder pads. We put a feather where the trainer is wrapping a bandage on the end's arm. You want an organdy flower there, we'll make it with organdy."
"Irving, for heaven's sake, I want to watch the game. Will yohu shut up?
"Of course, that's why I brought you here today. You see the cheerleaders with the pompons? I'll tell you a secret, Sam. Pompons are going to be very, very big this spring. We're putting them on all our jumpsuits, and we're backing them with full-page ads in all the newspapers."
"What a runback! Oh oh, there's a clipping penalty."
"If you don't breathe a word to our competitors, we're clipping two inches off our culottes. And we're adding ruffles. We're making them in cotton/acrylic so all a woman has to do is put them in the washer and hang them up."
"This is turning into a tight-knit game."
"I'm glad you mentioned knits. Picture this, Sam. A sleeveless knit canary yellow dress with light matching jacket in cotton voile and scalloped-edge sleeves and collar. The buyers are flipping over it."
"Irving, will you stop discussing business for just a few minutes?"
"I can't, Sam. You see the guy with the binoculars over there? He's from the IRS and someone told me the SOB reads lips."