Films to see you through taxing times

Tax crimes: The Shawshank Redemption follows the story of prisoners Andy (Tim Robbins) and Red (Morgan Freeman, pictured) as they help the guards shelter money from tax.
Tax crimes: The Shawshank Redemption follows the story of prisoners Andy (Tim Robbins) and Red (Morgan Freeman, pictured) as they help the guards shelter money from tax.

Along with death, tax is something fairly difficult to escape.

And for many, taxation is not a particularly exciting subject.

However tax, and particularly efforts to pay it or attempts to avoid paying it, has proven to be a particularly useful plot device in films from which many an interesting twist or turn has emerged.

To get you in the mood to complete your tax return, or to help you procrastinate when it comes to filling out those forms, here are some films where tax, tax agents or tax evaders have played a starring role.

You Can't Take It With You (1938): Martin Vanderhof (Lionel Barrymore) is grandpa of a wacky family who declares he does not believe in income tax and owes the government decades' worth of back taxes. When an Internal Revenue Service agent comes to collect, he asks the agent "Well, what do I get for my money?"

The Jackpot (1950): Family man Bill Lawrence (James Stewart) wins thousands of dollars' worth of weird and wonderful prizes in a radio competition but his life is turned upside down when he is told he must sell the prizes to pay taxes on his win.

Income Tax Sappy (1954): A short film starring The Three Stooges in which tax cheats Moe, Larry and Shemp become dodgy tax advisers and enjoy the high life this shenanigan temporarily brings them until they come up against an undercover Internal Revenue Service agent.

The Mating Game (1959): Tax collector Lorenzo Charlton (Tony Randall) is ordered to investigate the Larkins, a farming family who owe money to the government. Lorenzo is shocked to find the father has never filed a tax return and as the investigation progresses sparks begin to fly between Lorenzo and the eldest Larkin daughter Mariette (Debbie Reynolds).

The Blues Brothers (1980): a musical comedy in which paroled convict Jake (John Belushi) and his brother Elwood (Dan Aykroyd) re-form their band to earn $5000 to pay property taxes in an effort to save the Catholic orphanage they grew up in from foreclosure.

Harry's War (1981): When his aunt dies of a heart attack that he blames on the stress of her battle with the Internal Revenue Service, Harry Johnson (Edward Herrmann) takes up her fight and declares war on the IRS.

The Untouchables (1987) Gangster Al Capone (Robert De Niro)'s reign in 1930s Chicago is set to end if Elliot Ness (Kevin Costner) can get him convicted on tax evasion charges.

A Taxing Woman (1987): Set in Japan, tax auditor Ryko Itakura (Nobuko Miyamoto) investigates a hotel owner suspected of evading tax but her job is complicated by her growing sympathy towards him.

The Firm (1993): Young graduate lawyer Mitch McDeere secures a position at a small but prosperous tax law firm and is seduced by the money and benefits that come with it. His concerns about the firm's clients are confirmed when he is approached by the FBI who are investigating their the firm's mafia connections.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994): Imprisoned banker Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) provides tax and other financial advice to prison guards while formulating an escape plan.

The Brady Bunch Movie (1995): Mike Brady (Gary Cole) and his wife Carol (Shelley Long) have just one week to raise $20,000 to pay back taxes or they risk losing their house to one of their scheming neighbours.

The Brady Bunch had to raise $20,000 to pay back taxes or they risk losing their house to one of their scheming neighbours.

The Brady Bunch had to raise $20,000 to pay back taxes or they risk losing their house to one of their scheming neighbours.

Happy Gilmore (1996): A would-be ice hockey player with little skill other than an extraordinarily powerful slapshot, Happy Gilmore (Adam Sandler) turns his hand to an unorthodox style of golf to try to win money to stop his grandmother's house from being repossessed because she owes $270,000 in back taxes.

Strange Bedfellows (2004): Set in an Australian country town, the announcement of a new tax benefit for homosexual couples prompts Vince (Paul Hogan) and Ralph (Michael Caton) to pass themselves off as gay.

Stranger Than Fiction (2006): Auditor Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) discovers through a mysterious voice in his head he's the main character in a novel in progress by author Karen Eiffel (Emma Thompson). Given she is renowned for killing off her main characters, Harold must find a way to change the ending of the story.

Raid (2018): Set in 1980s India and inspired by a true story, a courageous Indian Revenue Service officer spearheads a raid on a powerful and dangerous man accused of tax evasion.

Metti La Nonna In Freezer aka Put Nonna In The Freezer (2018): Set in Italy,bankruptcy looms for young art restorer Claudia (Miriam Leone) when her grandmother suddenly dies. She decides to freeze grandma so she can continue to collect her pension until the state pays her what she is due for a recent job. Things get more interesting when handsome tax police inspector Simone (Fabio De Luigi) turns up.

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