In short, here’s what happened. As part of his segment on debt collectors, Oliver formed his own debt-collection company. Through that company, he then bought just under $15 million in medical debt — the debt of about 9,000 people — for $60,000. Once that debt had been bought, Oliver forgave it. Then, in a moment of self-adulation, he showered the stage with dollar bills as a symbol of his good act.
OK, it’s an intern at National Review writing this so details, details.
But if it was a company forgiving that debt than those whose debt was forgiven owe taxes on that debt forgiveness.
If it were a charity or an individual making a charitable act then they don’t. But corporations are assumed, unless otherwise detailed, to be operating for profit. And a for profit organisation forgiving debt is income to the debtor who gains that forgiveness. And taxable income too.
I do hope that Oliver got this the right way around.
Update: Apparently he donated it to a charity that then forgave it. So, settled then.