Lights! Camera! Taxes! The IRS's Star Turn

By Suzanne Woolley and Ben Steverman - 2013-03-27T17:11:31Z

Photograph by Paramount/Everett Collection

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'The Untouchables' (1987)

Finally, a tax man with hair on his chest. Charles Martin Smith plays pipe-smoking, shotgun-toting Treasury Bureau accountant Oscar Wallace, part of the group Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) assembles to bring down Al Capone (Robert De Niro). Wallace thinks they can get Capone on tax evasion: "He's making over $3 million a year, but he pays no taxes! Nothing's in his name! If we can establish any payments at all, we can prosecute him for tax evasion." Alas, a mobster in an elevator kills Wallace and a would-be witness against Capone. Eventually Ness nails Capone on tax evasion.

Tax takeaway: In the end, the pen writing the tax law is mightier than the sword (or shotgun).