Note: This is a fun trivia contest that we wrote for members at SCACPA’s Spring Splash Accounting Conference in May 2018. Feel free to use for your event, and credit the South Carolina Association of CPAs.

Answers: This was done “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” style, and all answers are B. If anyone takes issue with the answer for No. 8, the correct answer is Randall Stephens, because that was the name Tim Robbins said in the film. For those who insist the answer is Peter Stephens, that means they looked it up online and saw that name in the shooting script, and Googling an answer is cheating!


Test Your Knowledge on the Taxation Trivia That’s Locked Up in the Most Rewatchable Movie of All Time

by Gregory Hardy, Content Strategist
South Carolina Association of CPAs

Movie buffs know Andy Dufresne of 1994’s “The Shawshank Redemption” as one of the great prison escape artists in cinema history. In his life before incarceration, Andy’s job is described as that of vice president of a large bank (and apparently quite the amateur geologist to boot). While the film never tells us if Andy had an accounting degree, there are many instances throughout the film where Andy is shown as an expert on tax law and income tax filing. So, as far as we’re concerned, Andy is the most credentialed CPA in the Shawshank gen-pop.

We’re counting on the probability that you’ve seen “The Shawshank Redemption” countless times on TV. But how well do you remember all that tax advice? Take this quiz and find out. But think quickly, we’ll collect these very soon, so don’t be rattled by pressure and time.

1. When the prisoners resurface the roof of the license-plate factory in the spring of 1949, what does Chief Hadley say is the source of his $35,000 inheritance?
a. A second cousin who’s the winter caretaker of a haunted Colorado mountain resort
b. His estranged brother who turned out to be a Texas oil millionaire
c. A sister who was Stephen King’s literary agent in charge of film adaptation rights

2. What does Andy suggest Chief Hadley do with the inheritance to avoid paying taxes?
a. Loan it at 4.2% interest to a neighborhood clown who needs to buy more red balloons
b. Give the money to his wife because the IRS allows a one-time gift to a spouse
c. Invest in Rita Hayworth posters

3. What did Andy charge Chief Hadley for the preparation of his tax documents?
a. A $200 donation to the prison library
b. Three beers apiece for his inmate co-workers
c. Nothing, it’s fun to prepare strangers’ tax returns for free

4. So that Andy could expand his tax return preparation practice to include guards from other area prisons, the start of what sport season was rescheduled to coincide with tax season?
a. League bowling
b. Intramural baseball
c. Coed pickleball

5. According to Red’s voice-over, what steps were taken during those games to take advantage of Andy’s tax preparation services?
a. “The team of wardens argued on the best way to categorize their meal receipts.”
b. “The guards on the opposing teams all remembered to bring their W-2s.”
c. “The team of parole board members planned an April 16th document shredding party.”

6. While reviewing one prison guard’s tax returns, Andy advised that these items could be deductible as a write-off since it was issued by the prison but the guard had to pay for it:
a. Nightstick polish
b. His gun and holster
c. Flea powder for his K-9 partner

7. When Andy suggests he’ll start a letter-writing campaign to the State Senate for funds for a prison library, Warden Norton said that this was how politicians see “only three ways to spend the taxpayer’s hard-earned money when it comes to prisons.”
a. “More rock hammers to chisel more chess pieces.”
b. “More walls. More bars. More guards.”
c. “More rock, less talk.”

8. What was the name of the fake identity Andy concocted so that any paper trail of the warden’s income from the “kickbacks on his kickbacks” couldn’t be traced?
a. Jack Sparrow
b. Randall Stevens
c. Second Cousin to Harvey the Rabbit

9. When Andy triumphantly tours the banks of Portland, Maine, to withdraw all the money he had funneled under Warden Norton’s name, he hands one bank teller a manila envelope to place in the outgoing mail. What were the documents in that envelope and their destination?
a. The translated lyrics to “’The Marriage of Figaro” to a Mozart prison fan club
b. Warden Norton’s illicit ledgers to the Portland Daily Bugle so they could write an exposé
c. A tourism magazine for a feature on the beautiful beaches of Zihuatanejo

Time Served (or, ‘adjusted for inflation’ as of May 2018):
• The scene where Chief Hadley says he’ll inherit $35,000 takes place in 1949. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ online inflation calculator, that would be $366,908.37 in 2018 dollars.
• When Red’s voiceover describes Andy’s incognito visits to the Portland banks as he escapes in 1966, Red says Andy “blew town with better than $370,000 of Warden Norton’s money. Severance pay for 19 years.” The BLS online inflation calculator pegs $370,000 of 1966 dollars as $2,870,031.58 present day.

Answers/Spoiler Alert: All the correct answers are B.