New York -- Always a player, Survivor Richard Hatch won immunity from the IRS in the first episode of Survivor: Tax Court. The series is being filmed in Antigua, where Hatch reportedly keeps the bulk of his personal fortune. Hatch now faces the challenge of making it to the "Final Four" against fourteen enrolled agents, all of whom have sworn to their superiors they will turn down any offers of alliance. But will they?
Antigua reportedly does not honor extradition to the United States, and a IRS agent that "defected" could easily share Hatch's savings and live more comfortably than they ever did on an IRS salary. The rumor that one of the IRS agents is gay further deepens the intrigue. Viewers have already begun to question the amount of time "Tony," an admitted CPA, spends "in the closet of the lean-to"
The chances that Hatch, intensely popular with Survivor fans will face any jail time for tax evasion is "Next to Zero" according to celebrity lawyer Johnny Cockroach. "You saw how unpopular it was with the public when they put Martha Stewart in the slammer for financial misconduct?. Think any US Attorney would be willing to try Hatch in the High Court of public opinion? Ain't gonna happen."
Cochran continues, "Just watch, one of the reward challenges will include a juicy plea arrangement for Hatch including ZERO jail time. He may faulter, knowing that in the All-Stars episode he was sent packing just because of his reputation for being a tough competitor.
Said one Survivor blogger: The IRS agents have everything to gain by getting Hatch voted off. But do they "play well with others?" I doubt it. At heart they're all a bunch of accountants with a black and white, right versus wrong, GAAP mindset. Hatch swims naked and breathes underwater in shades of gray. He'll finish them off like a barracuda does sunfish."
At least for this week, Hatch is immune from tribal council and one of the "annoying sand fleas will be sent home with his or her adding machine" says Hatch. Some fans of the series believe the show is a superb training class for corporate survival, with politics, lying, backstabbing, and broken promises taking the place of corporate politics, lying, backstabbing, and broken promises.
Hatch, an unabashed metro-sexual reportedly told extra-long members of the media his nudity on the series is a result of the IRS not allowing him to deduct summer clothing, even though technically he is an "actor incurring a work-related expense."
IRS Agent Stanley Strongarm counter-claimed that "Individuals on Jeopardy, Wheel of Misfortune, and other gameshows, including reality shows, are not considered actors by IRS Code 126.96.36.199b and thus are not entitled to the clothing deduction, only Vanna's wardrobe. "Until we get this resolved, said Hatch, I'm wearing my birthday suit."
U.S. Attorney Robert Incoherent said Hatch, 44, dodged paying taxes on his original $1M "Survivor" prize. Hatch's latest claim is that "Income earned overseas is non-taxable." IRS agents claim that because Hatch did not spend the requisite 280 days out of the USA he doesn't qualify for the exemption, at which point Hatch reportedly challenged IRS commissioner Everly Waugh to the 39 day "grudge match."
Hatch reportedly agreed to an earlier plea bargain in return for two members of the IRS tribe being voted off, but then backed out, claiming he was instead voting the alphabet - C,B, and S, and claiming the network should be responsible for his tax burden.
On "Survivor," Hatch stood out for being a brilliant and ruthless competitor, and got a "large number" number of CPA's voted out both in the original season, and in the all-stars show. Survivor host Jeff Probe says, "I would never understimate a man that taught the entire nation how to play the survival game."