Lot #492
F. Scott Fitzgerald Autograph Letter Signed

"I am embroiled with the stupidest tax-collector since Louis XV"
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Estimate: $5000+


"I am embroiled with the stupidest tax-collector since Louis XV"

ALS signed “Sincerely & Gratefully, F. Scott Fitzgerald,” one page, 8.5 x 14, April 6, 1931. Letter to "Miss Sillcot," in full: "I hate to call upon you once again well before I have had a chance to thank you for your past favor, but I am embroiled with the stupidest tax-collector since Louis XV. He refuses to allow me one cent of deductions for typing (though I can't type a word myself), office rent ect because I have not kept expense books! However the immediate matter is the moot question of earned income. Can you tell me if any writers pay taxes on magazine stories as un-earned income? Do not all writers that you know of list their stories as earned income and are they ever questioned? Is not the ruling vague and in practice haven't the authorities in Washington recognized the money earned by a writer as earned income? Can you write me about this? I believe I am merely up against the stupidity of one man but will be glad to know if you are cognizant of the general precedent and any variants thereupon that may have reached your ears." He adds a postscript along the left edge: "P.S. Needless to say he did not allow the movie gift as a charity." In very good to fine condition, with overall creasing, and a repaired tear to the upper right edge.

During the 1920s, Fitzgerald's annual income from all sources averaged under $25,000—a very large sum at the time, but not quite a fortune. He and Zelda lived a lavish lifestyle, frequently spending money faster than it came in and frequently finding themselves in financially dire straits. Unlike many others of the era, Fitzgerald was extremely honest in his tax reporting and usually kept meticulous records (though here he admits to neglecting his expense books). However, he did occasionally press the limits of allowable deductions: when the IRS objected to his 1924 deduction of $2,450 as a business expense for a 'trip to Europe for the purpose of obtaining material for stories,' he did not pursue it any further. A beautifully penned letter from the great Jazz Age writer as he seeks to understand the complexities of America's tax code.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autograph and Artifacts, Ft. Art and Literature
  • Dates: #610 - Ended June 16, 2021

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