George Grange is a registered lobbyist who has a son, Red, a 15 year old high school student who lives with his father and mother. Red’s best friend is Bill Seward, whose mother, Jane Seward, has just been elected to the General Assembly. Red and Bill are the same age and have been best friends since they started school, and both are on the high school football team. Bill lives with his father and mother. The two boys have exchanged birthday and Christmas presents for years.
George has a pair of season tickets with the local professional football team. Occasionally he will use these to entertain business clients, and will take the appropriate tax deduction. Occasionally he will make personal use of the tickets, in which case their cost is not deductible.
The General Assembly is not in session, and the tickets cost $50 each.
George is going to be out of town for next Sunday’s game, and he tells Red that he and Bill can use the tickets. George does not plan to take a tax deduction with respect to these tickets.
Is this a permissible gift?
- Yes, because Bill is not a government official.
- No, because George is a registered lobbyist and Bill is a member of the immediate family of an official in the legislative branch.
- Yes, because the tickets are being given for a non-business purpose and are motivated by close personal friendship; George is not treating the gift as a deductible business expense and Red and Bill have a history of giving each other gifts.
- Yes, because the General Assembly is not in session, and the tickets cost less than $55 each.