Original “Survivor” Richard Hatch in Sacramento this weekend

Richard Hatch is one of the featured interviewees in the locally produced documentary "Death or Taxes: The Sad Truth About Our American Taxation System" that will be screened as part of the Sacramento Film & Music Festival's WinterFEST this weekend.  Mr. Hatch will be attending the screening in support of the film and a question and answer session with the filmmakers will follow the screening.

About the film – from the producers:
With a run time of 78 minutes, Death or Taxes takes a hard look at the horrifying realities faced by the millions of taxpayers who owe back taxes, many of whom are forced to make life-changing decisions. Should they pay their rent or pay their back taxes? Put food on the table or pay the often exorbitant fines issued by IRS agents in the name of Uncle Sam? Death or Taxes tells the story of the good, honest people who get caught in IRS quicksand—some of whom are pushed beyond hope into the last decision they’ll ever make.

About Mr. Hatch:
Richard Hatch is best known for winning the first ever season of Survivor. Following his success on the reality television show and his $1,000,000 prize, Richard worked with attorneys and accountants to determine his tax obligations for the prize money. In spite of his best efforts, Richard was accused and convicted of tax evasion. Richard served 52 months in federal prison, 4 months spent in solitary confinement, without ever having been assessed a tax debt. Richard’s ongoing battle with the tax and legal systems continue today, as Richard works to clear his name, and come to a settlement with the IRS.

Death or Taxes screens at 1:30pm on Sunday, January 16th at the Crest Theatre.

The Sacramento Film & Music Festival WinterFEST is at the Crest Theatre from Saturday, January 15th – Monday, January 17th and the full schedule, with ticketing links and links to individual film pages can be found online at www.sacfilm.com/schedule.html

See also the overview Sacramento Press article about the Festival:  LINK


Disclosure: Tony Shepppard is a Festival Co-Director.

Conversation Express your views, debate, and be heard with those in your area closest to the issue. RSS Feed

January 12, 2011 | 2:52 PM

Richard Hatch is not a “victim” of our tax system. Yes, it has its flaws. However, he chose not to pay them throwing the producers of the show under the bus (i.e. he thought they paid them). As a tax professional, I have heard that excuse over and over. Bottom line: we are all responsible for paying taxes on income we make. If you have problems with the tax laws, write your congressman. Flat out not paying them and making an excuse like he did cheats all of us.

January 12, 2011 | 3:30 PM

In the film he actually shares the correspondence he received from the IRS and the way that it was addressed. I’m a HUGE cynic/skeptic about stories like this but it’s really pretty strange – they’ve been trying to find out what he’s supposed to owe for years and they’ve never actually told him. There’s a lot more to it than the old “I thought CBS paid the taxes” story.

Article Author
January 12, 2011 | 5:47 PM

“…. Flat out not paying them and making an excuse like he did cheats all of us…..”
Is that true for the 50% who do not pay income tax?

January 13, 2011 | 7:58 AM

Actually, it’s 47 percent of earners who don’t pay a cent of Federal income tax. These parasites, however, always seem to get a $1,000 to $3,000 refund courtesy of child credits and other “deductions” the government grants them. EVERYBODY needs to pay taxes – even a little – to make it work.
By the way, Hatch violated the terms of his release and yesterday a U.S. District judge said he very well may send him back to jail.

January 13, 2011 | 3:17 PM

everybody, even illegal aliens, ends up paying some taxes – payroll taxes (if employed) sales taxes and property taxes (including renters who are funding the payment of property taxes – which fund things like school districts)

to refer to somebody who is exempted from paying income taxes based on their income level as a parasite seems to be implicitly blaming them directly for the way the tax code is written – do you voluntarily pay more than you are required?

Article Author
January 13, 2011 | 3:23 PM

Equality Now.

January 13, 2011 | 3:38 PM

But if equality is exemplified by the janitor paying the same tax rate as the CEO, is it also exemplified by the janitor being paid the same salary as the CEO?

Article Author
January 14, 2011 | 10:10 AM

Then let us simply take the cost of running the government, divide that by the number of adults over 18, and send everyone the same bill.

January 14, 2011 | 10:58 AM

The same rate is NOT the same amount, and given your specific example, not havig the same effort should not equal the same reward. It is not OK to bill one person more for public service than another person.

January 15, 2011 | 8:27 AM

“…not having the same effort should not equal the same reward.”

So the janitor should get paid MORE than the CEO?

Article Author
January 13, 2011 | 8:48 AM

Yes, I realize not everyone has to (read: not legally required) to pay income taxes. But someone who cheats doesn’t contribute to your local police, fire, schools, national defense, etc. They reap a benefit for nothing.
Also so someone who makes $75K a year is entitled to a child credit and not someone who makes $15K? Doesn’t sound equal to me.

January 13, 2011 | 3:25 PM

It is just as fair as any other law that takes from one and not the other, or worse, takes from one and gives to the other. Tax rates are as wierd as airline seat prices, no one pays the same price for the same ride.

January 13, 2011 | 3:37 PM

Airline prices reflect other pricing dynamics in other industries – as fewer numbers of an available product exist and more people are competing or willing to pay more for it, the price increases. Thus, as a plane fills up and the departure date approaches, prices rise. If you have a full car lot you’re more likely to discount the cars than if you have only one popular model left and people willing to pay full price. What is different and makes this dynamic seem odd, is that it’s more open and obvious that the way prices change in most.many other industries, but it’s not unique.

But the tax code is, and always will be, full of things that one person pays for that another uses. I don’t have kids but I pay for others’ child benefits and I pay in other ways for schools. But I also benefited from those things when I was a child and our (flawed though it might be) representative government has decided that we benefit as a group when those things are made available.

Article Author
January 14, 2011 | 10:59 AM

The efficiencies you describe are not found in government taxation. The more you make, the less your taxes? I understand the merits of some social programs, as you describe. This concern is the level of punishment burdened on someone who works harder or longer than another who chooses not to work harder and longer, yet has the same opportunities and social services. I can find no equality there.

January 13, 2011 | 9:23 AM

Maybe Richard Hatch is our next patriot anti-tax crusader, like Sam Adams or Wesley Snipes.

Or maybe he is just another tax dodging derelict trying extend his 15 minutes of fame.

The film sounds pretty interesting Tony. Do you have any background on the producers and what inspired them to do a film like this?

January 13, 2011 | 3:21 PM

One of the Exec Producers is Roni Deutch – and she has said she was motivated to facilitate the telling of some of these most extreme cases after Joseph Stack flew his small plane into the IRS building in Austin, last February.

Article Author
January 13, 2011 | 10:41 AM

Check out the film’s background information at deathortaxes.com.

January 13, 2011 | 12:24 PM

Tony Sheppard

You probably should disclose that the executive producer of this film is Roni Deutch, the Sacramento based “Tax Lady” who is facing some pretty serious allegations of fraud related to her tax advice business. Apparently she also makes an appearance in the film.

If disclosed upfront, this fact shouldn’t dissuade someone from attending your film festival, and in fact it may still be a great film on an important and timely topic. But you never want people to feel like they have been “had” when they find out pertinent information like this after the fact.

January 13, 2011 | 3:26 PM

I certainly wasn’t trying to hide this fact – in fact before reading this comment I had just mentioned that in answer to your previous comment. She’s interviewed in the film but the content isn’t about her or self-serving, in that it’s not directing people to her company, she’s merely describing how powerful the agency is. Whether or not she has any problems with her business (and I haven’t followed her case at all, so I don’t know the details – although we do have an assumption of innocence until proven guilty) doesn’t negate the fact that she’s clearly knowledgeable on this topic.

Article Author
January 13, 2011 | 1:19 PM

It doesn’t seem to be hidden information. I believe the previous mentions of the film refer to the filmmakers, including Ms. Deutch.

January 13, 2011 | 1:21 PM

@Tony…this film sounds very interesting. I will definitely attend the film festival!

@Cogmeyer Earlier this week, I read the press release announcing the film’s debut; the press release was very clear that the film was backed by Roni Deutch and produced by a Sacramento based production company called SIMZ Productions. Anyone looking up the film, viewing the website, etc. would very quickly come to know the film’s background. Even with Roni’s current situation, the film’s subject matter is still very compelling.

January 13, 2011 | 3:29 PM

Yes – and all I was doing was focusing on the “celebrity” appearance – hence the title of the piece I wrote.

This is just one of 34 films over 3 days – and this was a documentary-heavy submission pool, so if you like these kinds of films, there are probably several more that you would find appealing. We have a full day of politics/peace/social justice content on Monday, in keeping with the nature of the holiday and the man it honors.

Article Author
January 14, 2011 | 6:57 PM

The sad truth about our taxation system can be summed up in two words: it exists

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