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Ground Zero

G2: Grudgement Day

The Scenario


The lights from the street flicker their dim reflection in this forgotten alley. Beneath the city's ambient noise, the dying man staggers, then falls.

Streams of blood run down his desiccated cheeks, as he gropes wildly for breath, one hand clutched to his heart - breath that seems to come with more and more effort - breath that will soon be impossible to draw at all.

The dying man struggles to rise to his knees. Fails. He raises his head and sees the blackness move. A dark figure seems to draw from the very shadows themselves. His robe is as dark as night, and he carries a scythe.

The Grim Reaper approaches the terrified man and raises his weapon to finish the job that he has performed millions upon millions of times before.

Suddenly, kleig lights bathe the alley in blinding luminance. The Reaper throws his skeletal arms in front of his eyes and screams curses in ancient tongues long since forgotten. Hundreds of armed men emerge from hidden doorways, from behind refuse and garbage cans. On the backs of their blue windbreakers, are stencilled in tall white letters: I.R.S.

"Good job, Manciewicz" the leader calls out to the "dying" man who is brushing away the dirt and stage blood from his face. "Well, well, if it isn't Mr. Death." He pulls a thick file out of his legal briefcase and slams it against the reaper's chest. "Seems you got yourself a nice little service sector operation going here, haven't you? And according to our records, you haven't filed the proper tax forms on it for over four billion years."

The leader pauses, and then continues. "We've been setting up this sting operation for quite some time. You're going down, big boy!".

Death raises his ghastly arm and points it at the IRS agent. "You are tampering with powers greater than any you could possibly understand. Your lives shall fall as legions have...

"Save it for the audit, dead man." snaps the agent.

So Joe, will this ageless angel of the apocalypse avoid this audacious audit, or will the agents of annual authorized avarice adequately administer their April atrocity?

Death Taxes




The Commentary

JOE: I believe the world has found the saviour they have been looking for. Now, there is no doubt in my mind that Death could simply call up his old buddy Satan and say, "Mr. Gates, if I am put in jail by the I.R.S., I will not be able to collect any souls, everyone will live forever, and Hell will become a very lonely place." Bill would quickly pay off his debt and Death would be back in business.

Yeah, sure, he could do that... but Death is angry. Is the REAPER going to let a couple of little I.R.S. guys do that to him? No way. Death will instead take the political route. He'll start killing off senators and their replacements until he can become a candidate for office. Every one that gets elected is some white guy in a black suit, and since he's the whitest guy in the blackest suit, he'll win. Next, he'll take out the rest of Congress and replace them with...NORMAL PEOPLE. (ooh, he's a devious one!) That way when he asks Congress to pass an Amendment to the Constitution abolishing taxes, it will be a unanimous vote.

Yup, there will only be one constant in life, now, and it's Bill and Ted's Bass player - Senator Death.

JOHN: Poor Joe. Poor sweet, naive, possibly high, Joe. First off, have you ever met a politician who didn't want to raise taxes? Throw a "normal" person into congress, and he or she will invariably be corrupted by the System (tm), and within seconds will be opening eponymous irrigation, highway or irigation of highway projects, giving NEA grants to their pets, shaking babies and kissing interns. The reaper's plan here is as naive as Ross Perot's and he got trampled on like a soccer fan at a Manchester United game. Twice.

Secondly, the instant Bill Gates hangs up the phone he realizes that if Death goes to jail, no one will ever die and the market for his MS empire will keep growing and growing - keeping 'em alive just makes good business sense. As I see it, the Gates factor is a wash, so we're gonna see the Reaper march into that audit room, like it or not.

It's obvious that Death is in big trouble with this audit - he never keeps receipts, and that's the first thing that the IRS will ask him about. Which do you think that the IRS will find a bigger sin: a) that he killed roughly a third of Europe's population during the Black Plague or b) he didn't keep proper records on billable hours? I thought so. Plus, the IRS is a place where respect for due process extends only as far as admiration of how they get that delicious lemony taste inside the carbonated drink. The reaper will be tied up with this audit for decades. Side benefit: Courtney Love can go back on heroin without fear of dying and produce the kind of music we know she's capable of.

Sorry, Joe. It looks like the Reaper is not going to beat the audit and will go straight to jail. Mind you, this won't necessarily preclude him from seeking office at a later date.

JOE: John, I humbly thank you for making my point for me. You are totally right. I have never met a politician who didn't want to raise taxes. So, what happens when there is one? He'll be a shoo-in. The Reaper won't even have to kill off anybody to get elected, he'll be extremely popular from the very start.

Heck, even if they manage to audit him, do you think he can't beat them? Excuse me for a moment. (Uncontrollable hideous laughter in background). Now, that I'm better, let me enlighten you. As soon as the word "audit" exits the mouth of the lowly IRS agent, the Reaper heads to ComputerWorld and buys himself a snazzy new Pentium 333MHZ MMX MSS UCK S.!@^, with a inkjet printer. Using different font styles, sizes, and colors of paper, he quickly prints up 3,000,000,027 receipts denoting such payments for services rendered as: 1 John F. Kennedy - $20,000, 1 Kurt Cobain - $50, etc.

Yeah, the IRS may like due process, but the Reaper won't care about it. "Oh, so you're your going to audit me, are you?" (Rustling of papers in the background) "Well, look who's number just came up, Mr. Manciewicz?" Death taunts him with mocking surprise, "Imagine that! I guess I'm just going to have to remove your soul, now." These IRS guys don't have a chance in Hell. Which is a little sad, because that is where they are headed.

Yeah, so I'm high. Minor detail as far as I'm concerned. It worked for Courtney Love, it can work for me, too.

JOHN: Joe, it's not being high that your mother and I are worried about, it's the maniacal laughter and wholesale acceptance of Ross Perot's ideas. If it will help, please take more drugs.

That aside, the very idea that the reaper could remove the IRS workers' souls to get out of the audit is laughable - it's common knowledge that government workers don't have souls. Let me tell you from first hand experience how the government staffs its positions - it turns to its gigantic underground breeding caves where hordes of civil service worker drones tend to vast stores of bureaucrat chrysalides. (Man, don't you watch the fricking X-Files?) The supply of government workers is effectively infinite. If the reaper kills one civil servant, another will be assigned to take his place. And another. And another, ad infinitum. Meanwhile, the reaper has had his wages garnisheed, and the IRS has auctioned off his sickle to pay off his back taxes. But it's not enough. The reaper must perform community service to pay off his fine. And where better to render this service to than the IRS?

A new Public Service Announcement, featuring the Grim Reaper, debuts during the Superbowl as the reaper is forced to pass on the words of George Harrison, who foresaw this battle over thirty years ago: "Now my advice for those who die - declare the pennies on your eyes. 'Cause I'm the taxman, and you're working for no one - but me."

The Results

Death (752 - 68%)


Taxes (348 - 32%)

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Voter Comments

Gold Grudgie


As much as I love the big guy, Death isn't used to government-style bureaucracy.

{I am Death. I look for the one they call Manciewicz.}
"And what is the nature of your visit, sir?"
{Manciewicz's time has come. I am here to collect his soul.}
"I'm sorry, sir. You'll have to go to Collections for that. It's on the third floor, right across from the elevators."

{I am Death. I am here to collect a soul.}
"Yes, Mr. Death. Whose soul are you collecting today?"
{I look for the one they call Manciewicz.}
"That's under the jurisdiction of Human Resources. Second floor, next to the men's washroom."

"Hello, sir. May I help you?"
{I look for the one they call Manciewicz. He has displeased me, and I want his soul for eternity.}
"Do you have the aquisition slip?"
{Er, no. I think not.}
"Sorry, Mr. Death. I'll need Form SR-13 before anything can be processed."
{Where can I get that?}
"Collections. Third floor."

{Form SR-13, please.}
"Your Social Insurance Number, please?"
{Beg your pardon?}
"Come on, Mr. Death. You know you can't hold a steady job in this country without Social Insurance."
{I am Death! I need not a SIN card.}
"Fifth floor. Good day, sir."

{I am Death! I need Social Security.}
"I'm sorry, sir. We closed five minutes ago. Come back tomorrow."

Needless to say, Death might be tied up for a while. The U.S. Government in an eternity.

- Vlad, Hamster of Wonder

Silver Grudgie

ROTW ™ Silver Medal Grudgie ™

The knee jerk association of Death and Taxes comes to us via Ben Franklin, who said those were the only two unavoidable things in life.

Ben Franklin is currently dead.

Ben Franklin is currently not paying taxes.

Need I say more?

- Kilgore Trout

Bronze Grudgie

ROTW ™ Bronze Medal Grudgie ™

In this case I can certainly sympathize with Death, and for a very good reason. You see, about fourteen years ago I didn't file for taxes. Why not? Well, because I didn't make any money, that's why.

Of course, this minor fact didn't even slow the IRS down. They knew I made about $200 the year before mopping floors at a supermarket on Thursdays so it took them all of two months to send a threatening letter. Fortunately I read the threat a little more carefully then they probably expected. Apparently the IRS isn't as unrestricted in its abuse as the current trials would have us think. You see, in the fine print, at the bottom of all it's horrible threats, the worst they could offer was that if I didn't contact them and file a dozen forms in triplicate signed in blood the would do the unthinkable and file my taxes for me.

Oh, horrors, they would actually save me the trouble of filling out the forms. How is this a punishment? How am I hurt? In the end they sent me a letter saying that my taxes were $0 and I owed them $0 with $0 in penalties. I briefly considered sending them a check for the amount, but IRS agents aren't exactly known for their sense of humor.

And this is what will save Death's butt. All he has to do is wait and the IRS will be forced to file Death's taxes for him. Even this out-of-control behemoth of government institutions will take more than a few weeks to file that many forms. And let's face it, what exactly is Death's income? Who pays him, and do they file a W-2? If not you can bet his employer is in a lot more trouble than Death. Maybe Death works on commission, but does he make cash or is he reimbersed with some sort of barter goods? Should income earned by the deaths of non-US citizens in the US count? What about US citizens abroad? How about state taxes, should that be filed by residence of the deceased, or by the location of their demise? Considering the age of Death, will he need to make social security payments, or collect benefits, or both? Can Death claim the dead as dependents?

Let's face it, the IRS has met its match, but it isn't Death, it's their own bureaucracy.

- Warren Von

This one is simple. Death can only get you once. Taxes get you every year for your entire adult live.

Taxes 52, Death 1

- Robert

Death doesn't make you file 38 forms in triplicate before putting you out of your misery. And nobody gets put in jail for death-evasion. So obviously taxes are the more terrible force of evil, leaving death to be only a merciful salvation from a hideous audit and bankruptcy and humiliation.

So I'll have to give this one to taxes.

- tuffy

FACT: Death was the overwhelming winner of an earlier Grudge Match(tm).

FACT: With the oddsmakers in Vegas, Death will be the heavy favorite. Anyone willing to bet on Taxes can get excellent odds.

FACT: Death and Taxes are both subsidiary organizations of Evil(tm). They work together! The fight was set up by the CEO of Evil(tm), Michael Eisner, as a revenue-generating extravaganza. And what could generate more revenue than by having the underdog win?

CONCLUSION: Death will throw the fight. Evil(tm) will reap a huge sum in gambling winnings and the Pay-Per-View rights. Coming October 31: Death vs. Taxes II!

- Dale "Geoduck" Abersold

If avoiding an audit means a win for Death, put my money on the Reaper.

Pitting these Unavoidable (tm) forces against each other would be an exercise in futility, as both sides would have found their favorite methods useless in a face-off.

Death would not be able to extricate himself from an audit via soul-sucking because the IRS members have no soul. On the other hand, the IRS would find it impossible to bleed dry a walking skeleton (although I admit that if such a thing WERE possible, the IRS would find a way). Not to mention that they couldn't exactly scare Death, which we can all admit is what the IRS is in business for (does anyone really think audits are about raising money???).

GENTLEMAN! GENTLEMAN! We are missing the big picture here.

Imagine living the high life, the low life, any kind of life. Next imagine that no matter what you do you have to answer to a cold, heartless dispenser of self-monitored justice. Who am I talking about... the IRS or Death?

Ahhhh, now you begin to see, I could be describing either. Yep, Mr. Reaper WORKS for the IRS, but instead of finacial audits, Death subjects people to <LIFE> audits.

Upon realizing that they are working on the same side, the IRS calls off the audit.


Well, first and foremost, let me say that Satan isn't a factor in this battle at all, seeing as how both Death and the IRS work for the Dark One. It'd be a conflict of interests. He can't get involved. So, out the window goes the intervention of any deities.

How would the fight go, you say? A little something like this...

Death, suddenly noticing the profusion of expendable lives around him, lays into the IRS agents with a vengeance. Swinging his scythe in time to the bass beats of "In the Hall of the Mountain King," which is piping into the area from parts unknown, Death lays waste to scores of IRS agents in a mere 3 minutes.

But they keep coming.

The IRS, having become a nearly autonomous station of Hell over the past coupla centuries and completely localized on Earth, has become a formidable fighting force. The higher up IRS agents, in fact, have all the powers of demons, but can pass as human easily to most people.

And so Death finds himself face to face with dozens of huge, slavering, evil demons from D.C. I fear even he couldn't stand against such might.

- Jorge T. Johnson

Death has taken everything that has ever lived on this planent. Since about 99.9% of all things that lived on this planet have become extinct, you know he gots experence on his side.

The I.R.S. has in their favor the fact that they are the most ruthlessly trained people on the planet. Navy SEALs tremble in hearing that they might get audited, others weep like little girls, and instantly relieve themselves in their pants. The I.R.S. had taxed someone 270 billion dollars once. When they called to see if there was a mistake, they replied "We don't make mistakes!" That is the biggest balled, meanest, and cruelest part ofthe government. I believe a famous criminal once said; "I'll take on Superman, Batman, or anyone else out there, but I won't dare mess with the I.R.S." If the Joker is scared of them, you know that you don't mess with them.

It's too damn dangerous.

- Hal9000

I think it's important to note that while death has been around for a long time, it should also be noted that he is slowly losing ground to the endless march of TECHNOLOGY. Let's face it 1000 years ago you would only live to be 15-25 years tops, today we're nose deep in old fogies and their steel clad Lincoln/Mercury LandTanks (TM). Taxes, on the other hand, while coming around just a little later than Death, is only getting stronger, sucking more and more money from widows, orphans, the poor, the middle-class, the rich, the good, the evil,the cute and the ugly, as well as just about anyone else. Heck, when you die you STILL have to pay taxes.

Conclusion:The IRS will audit Death till all he has left is his head (or skull, whichever you prefer).

- Weenie the Great

This problem can be easily solved through simple high school geometry.

Given:The IRS takes money from people who have it.
Given: Once you die, you can not have money.
Therefore: The IRS cannot take money from someone who is dead.

Given: King Midas had tons o' cash (and a muffler company) and he never paid a single cent of the property taxes.
Given: Mr. Reaper smashed Midas into oblivion.
Therefore: The IRS never got to audit Midas
Therefore: Mr. Reaper pissed off the IRS.
Therefore: Mr. Gates will be taking interveiws for the new candidate for Death Incarnate (tm) beginning next Tuesday.

- Jak the Duck

Death will at first start out the strategy of killing the government servants. He will then quickly realise that another will take his place. (as stated in the previous arguments.) However, death is cunning, after all, he's the biggest mass murderer in history.

Yes, death will go to the source of the government. He will go to the president and tell him to stop the audit, or he will have to go to hell a little bit early. When Congressmen protest, he will give them the same message. Now that the supposed brain of the government cannot stop him, death is safe, right?

Wrong. We all no that Congress and the president are just puppet's in the larger scheme. Death, knowing everyone on the planet and there job, goes and kills off all the members of the conspiracy that trully runs the world. (Death offered him a choice, but they kept claiming there was no Jihad.)

Once they are gone, people will finally celebrate ridding themselves of the world government, and will immediatly flock around death. Death will be on 60 Minutes, Dateline, and to get in touch with the people he soon knows, Jerry Springer. He will become an instant celebrity. Unfortunately, the screaming masses of adoration will die when they try to shake his hand. Oh well.

- The truly demented one

Well guys, I'm ringside with Death and Taxes, and it looks like being a real tough fight to pick. After all, these guys ARE the only constants in life, so they've both shown that they can go the distance by beating ten types of crap out of Life, Wealth, Happiness, and possibly even Elvis Presley (although his fans are claiming that Elvis faked the amazing last round KO and is still active in Kentucky).

However, in the end it all comes down to past fights Let's see who's managed to beat who. Death has only been defied by Elvis Presley and Bill and Ted. Taxes got an ass-whooping last decade when even the Church of Scientology became tax-exempt, and virtually any billionaire worth his salt is only paying half a cent to the dollar.

And then there's the two other key factors. One: Death has no discernable income, nor any worldly goods except some black clothes and a sharp thing on a stick. So there's nothing to impound. Two: the worst part of an audit is time, something which Death has in abundance. Who cares if the next thirty years are spent in and out of court? The Original D will come through stronger than ever.

- Rallan

Well, assuming that human life expectancy is around 75 years, ballpark, that means that people have to pay annual taxes about 60 TIMES!!! Now, unless you believe in reincarnation, we only die once, so I guess Taxes has a much greater hold on us. Sure, Death is 100% effective to all, but it's not like the Reaper comes back again and again each April to take away your life like those BASTARDS at the IRS.

- Adam B.

Death has this going for him... (uh, her? It?) Legally Death is a non-resident of the US (or an mortal land)... BUT he does work there, and is liable to pay taxes

Literary In Discworld novels, he always wins and is kinda cool... BUT in the comics, folks who HAVEN'T come back from the dead are a minority

Popularity Apart from the terminally ill and hard-core goths, Death is generally the last person anyone wants to meet (which is ironic if you think about it). BUT at least this encounter is generally a oncer. Taxes keep comin' at ya, like Freddy or Jason

Death wins coz black is always in style

- --John Hunter

Thousands of people die every day. Therefore, it is of an insanely high probability that there are times at which several people die at the same instant, especially when one is dealing with car crashes, nuclear bombings, etc. If several people can die at once, death must have the ability to be several places at once. So, while one incarnation of death spends eternity doing tax forms and keeping the IRS happy, other incarnations of death are out and about, continuing his job. So, in a way the IRS wins, because they can jail death. But really Death wins, because they have not impeded him at all. They are like flies unto Godzilla.

- Romie

This one was a hard one to decide. On one hand, Death, by virtue of being a skinny white boy, won't last long in jail at all. . .at least, not with a 300 pound husband/cellmate named Alice. On the other hand, our government's revolving door policy will have Death on the streets by the following morning (unless he serves his term in Texas, where they'd probably just shoot him instead of incarcerate him. . .though I'm not sure how much good that'd do). Thus, I foresee an endless cycle of wasted man-hours and taxpayer dollars spent arresting, auditing, jailing, and releasing Death. Being a smart guy, Death would use his constant visits to jail to lift weights, learn how to build shivs in metal shop, and amass a small fortune selling cigarettes (hey, he IS Death, after all). After a short time in the revolving door, he would be released as a much more dangerous criminal. I guess in this case Death is the winner. Sort of.
Don't you love America?

- Wong's Whirlwind

In a grueling war of attrition, gotta go with Thanatos over the petty bureaucrats in the long haul ...

Many people escape taxes: Colombian Drug Lords, Churches, the entire Kingdom of Monaco, etc.

Nobody escapes death...

It would also be interesting to explore the notion of Death, as the harbinger of sorrows and angel of destruction being a semi-religious official, and hence with the assistance of a good belt-way tax lawyer could render himself tax exempt.

- LT Dan

*crk* Roger base, we're in position outside IRS headquarters no sign of the perp. *crk*
*crk* Roger HK-443, hold position there and report. *crk*
*crk* Roger. We've got some bodies on the steps, no sign of movement. I don't see him. Repeat description please *crk*
*crk* Tall, dark robes, was apprehended carrying a schythe. *crk*
*crk* Repeat, base: A WHAT? *crk*
*crk* Big uhhhh nevermind. Tall and wearing dark robes. Shoot on sight, reports say he's killed everyone in IRS headquarters. *crk*
*crk* EVERYONE? There's got to be thousands of people in there! *crk*
*crk* Hold your position 443. That's an order. Captain O'Mally will be taking over the scene. *crk*
(O'Mally arrives, megaphone comes out) Ok, Death, we know you're in there. Come out with your hands out! We are not *GRK!!* *GASP!!* *THUD*
*crk* Base! this is HK-443, Captain O'Mally is on the ground clutching his throat! Oh my god... I think he's dead! I've got to help him! *crk*
*crk* Dammit 443, hold position! *crk*
*crk* Two other units moving to help him, oh man, they just keeled over. They're down. Officers down, repeat officers down. *crk*
*crk* 443 come in! 443?!?!? *crk*
*crk* heeeeelp... caaaaan't breathe. Chest hurrrrt. ggggghhhh *crk*
*crk* All units, fall back! Repeat FALL BACK!! *crk*
*crk* Is ANYONE still up?!? ANYONE?!? THIS IS BASE. REPORT! *crk*
oh my god.....


At first glance, this match would look lopsided to the average mortal. After all, everyone knows that taxes are worse then death (or so they belive). However, there is a hidden factor here. Allow me to shine the light upon it.

Death, while he has been performing more then adequitly for over 4 million years, only needs to worry about the last 200 and change (we are talking about U.S. taxes). Also, since it is the IRS going after him, he only needs to worry about revenue generated inside the US (he's not a US citizen or resident, just has a work visa). Now, that's a much simpler task to work with. (still, it is the IRS). But, the key factor in favor of Death is ..... He performs on a volunteer basis. That's right, he doesn't get paid for "harvesting souls". In fact, all his income comes from a rather lucritive realistate business (selling cemetaries). His business has been audited many times in the past (95,93,92,90,87,84,83,82,81,80,75,67,63,61 to name some of the more recent) and has allways been found to be "dead" on. As his personal accountant, I can attest to this fact, being as I've been to every audit of his company since being "hired" on in 1941 (damn sneak attack, taking me before I could get my business off the ground... but I digress).

As you can see, Death has nothing to fear. The IRS, on the other hand, would be wise to let him go his own way. After all, they may not have souls, and may be totaly replacable down to hair and eye color in microseconds, but they should remember that they WILL have to face him one on one sooner or later.

- LrdChaos

Gotta go with the Reaper Man on this one. Pure and simple, he is the Ultimate Reality, the Harvester of Sorrow (no matter how much the IRS tries to claim that title), the Assassin Against Whom No Lock Will Hold, etc, etc, you get the idea.

Remember, Death is a central character in many of Terry Pratchett's books. And in all those books, has Death ever lost? No. Here's how I see the scenario unfolding:

At the home of Death, on every plane, at every time, in the Library of the Biographies, where every living being's life is being written down as it's lived:

IRS: "Well, Mr. Reaper, just a few more decades, and we'll be all done with your audit."
Death, the Ultimate Reality, the Harvester of Sorrow, the Assassin Against Whom No Lock Will Hold, etc: LOOK. ARE YOU REALLY SURE THIS IS NECESSARY? I AM NOT A PUBLIC SERVICE. I AM DEATH. I DO NOT RECIEVE PAYMENT FOR DOING MY JOB. I AM MY JOB.
IRS: "Yes, well, that's all very impressive, but the fact remains..."

As the IRS agent talks, he continues punching numbers into a calculator. Little does he know, he is mistakenly using the equation Knowledge=Power=Energy=Matter=Mass, the equation which supports the Discworld L-space theory. Upon hitting 'total', a hole opens up in the space-time continuum, and a large, rather irate orangutan/librarian comes tumbling out.

Librarian: "Oook?"
Librarian: "Oooook? Eeek. Ooook eeek eek."
IRS: "Ah, you have a pet monkey, as well? I hope you have a reciept for him, t-"

The IRS agent is lifted from the ground, as the Librarian demostrates comparative anatomy. The lesson here is that while no monkey can lift someone from the ground and smash their head against a brick wall repeatedly, an orangutan most certainly can.
Death leaves the room, and returns shortly with an hourglass bearing the agent's name.

Death, handing the Librarian the hourglass: HERE YOU ARE. HAVE FUN.
Librarian: "Oook."

Death strolls away, smiling (as though there was much else a skeleton could do). He's won, as always.

- The Reader in Invisible Writings, Unseen University, Ankh-Morpork

Taxes. In a rout! But not because pocket protector-wearing pencil-necked government employees are more plentiful and expendable than Start Trek ensigns. On no, my friends, it is the fear factor that will determine the winner of this contest.

What do people fear more than anything in the world? Death? Don't be stupid! Hollywood has provided us with countless examples of ordinary people staring Death right in the face and telling the Grim Reaper where he can stick his scythe. What the movie industry has been too frightened to show us, however, is these same people when hauled into an IRS audit room.

Why do you think that Donald Trump, Bill Gates, Ted Turner, Robert Murdoch, and thousands of other Really Rich People™ donate so much money to charities? To avoid being audited. We all know that audits are to the IRS what penuts are to the average barfly: you can never stop at one. NEVER! If anyone gets audited once, they might as well "assume the position" every April 15 for the rest of their sorry lives. (assuming the position is too graphic to describe here, suffice it to say it involves a dropping of pants, electron microscopes, and a conspicuous absence of lubricants)

Do you think Tom Cruise would be as brave as his Top Gun persona if the IRS ever decided that his contributions to the Church of Scientology™ (for all those strawberry-kiwi-flavored Kool-Aid enemas) were deemed taxable? Tommy would be crying like a little baby, we all know it.

People may claim to fear Death, but in actual fact, they fear the Taxman much, MUCH more. The reason is simple: you can only die and go to hell once (which is bad). Annual IRS audits can make you life a living hell (which is much worse, therefore scarier).

- HotBranch!

This match comes down to a simple numbers game.

Death: One faceless guy in a black suit.
Taxes: Countless faceless guys in black suits.

Taxes win by sheer superiority of numbers.

- Josh

There is another scenario that was not included- Revenue Canada. That's right, the boys from the Frozen North(tm) have a stake in this death/taxes thing, too. Sure, the IRS has the nasty financial version of a rectal exam, but Revenue Canada is no stranger to the evil known as audits. Up here in Canada(tm), they hand 'em out to people at random! That's right, at random! And the taxes are huge! The prigs in charge steal 50-65% of what you get, right from your paycheck, THEN, they charge 14% on everything you buy, and yes, there is a DEATH TAX! (don't get me started on birth taxes). RC also has C(anadian)I(nternal)S(ecurity)A(gency?) on thir side, an organization the KGB feared! Deth has been personally responsible for untold millions of deaths in Canada, do RC (who tax people for EVERYTHING) will find a way to break into the underground IRS bunkers in the Nevada desert, steal Death from the clutches of the evil IRS, and have Death taxed to the point where he will be sent back to the netherreigons from whence he came. RC can even read what I'm typing right now (all Canadians have a mandatory program on their computers that read everything that goes on, so if they buy something over the Internet, RC can still tax 'em. Oh dear G-d, thay can read what I'm typing now! Hold on, there's some guys at the door...)

Please ignore everything I have said previously said about Revenue Canada. It is all a figment of my imagination.

- Nuthin' beats a Canuk, eh? -Hax

Four words: Death has no loopholes.

End of discussion.

- [[[Bracket Man]]]

In truth, this is what would happen...


IRS2: "Uhhh, sir, whats he doin'?"


(Sound of lots of M-16, Shotguns, and various other weapons going off)

IRS2: "Sir, it's not killing him, just taking apart his cloak!?!?"

DEATH: "You destroyed my good cloak and left me naked in NEW YORK! PREPARE TO DIE!!!"

(Sound of scythe beheading lots of I.R.S. Agents while they try to shoot him)

DEATH: "Audit this."

- jev

Death does most of us more of a favor than the IRS ever would.

Therefore, if this match were determined by a sheer popularity count (and it is -- after all, this IS the Grudge Match (tm), regardless of what new names you give it), then Death "slays" the IRS in a "heartbeat."

HA...I kill me!

- The Genius Formerly (and Still) Known as Eddie

Ha! FOOLS! You both have made grave mistakes. First off you assume that Bill Gates is Satan. I know a lot of people make that assumption but he is NOT Satan. Here is why:

1. Satan would have a better haircut.
2. Satan is a snappier dresser.
3. Satan could kick my ass (I could beat the shit out of Gates).
4. I refuse to accept that everyone who works for Microsoft is from the dominion of Hell (they are all pussies).
5. Satan could put out something much more seamless than Windows 95.
6. IBM is higher up than Microsoft, you think Satan would allow a company called International Business Machines to beat him?
7. Bill Gates + Pie = Funny. Satan + Pie= Your mangled corpse rotting in the lowest depths of Hell.

I instead offer the counterproposal that Bill Gates is a failed Satan worshipper. He took a couple of courses at the Satanic Community College but never got his AA. He completed backstabbing, and evil business ethics 101 just fine, but flunked out of Satanic lynch beatings 106. Therefore your conclusions are both invalid. I think that the IRS is very powerful, but they are waiting for an ass beating.

Reaper = Powers of Hell+ Touch of Death
IRS = Powers of Uncle Sam + Touch of Audit

Conclusion: Death wins because the IRS uses Microsoft as it's OS, and as I just proved ANYTHING with Bill Gates involved is flawed.

- The Undertaker

"You're coming with us Mr. Reaper," the agent said.

"I don't think I am." Death pointed to an open area. Electricity appeared. A phone booth emerged from the electricity. Two figures emerged from the booth. They looked at their surroundings.

The agent asked, "Who the hell are you!?"

"I am Bill Preston Esquire."

"And I am Ted Theodore Logan. Together we are&"

"Wild Stallions!" The two yelled as they played air guitar.

Bill spoke to Death. "Hey Grim-dude, long time no see. We got your message and did what you said."

Ted spoke up. "Right Bill. After making nice with some dude in a white wig, we got this written into the constitution. Check it out."

The agent held a copy of the constitution. "All mythological creatures are null and void. What?!"

"That's right you insignificant worm. I made my prison call to my friends Bill and Ted. And you know the rest of the story."

The agent started sweating. "This isn't over!"

"You are right," Death added. "Bill. Ted. Bring this swine to the Spanish Inquisition, please."

Bill and Ted looked at eachother. "Bodacious!" They tied up the agent and brought him with them into the phone booth.

The other tax officers ran off in terror. Death smiled. After this glorious victory he decided to go fulfill his side of his deal with Bill and Ted. He went to Illinois to kill Wayne and Garth.

- Gavok

Death all the way...

As much as the IRS loves a good audit.. there is still one thing EVERY government official hates.. and thats paperwork. Imagine the piles of paperwork auditing 6 billion years worth of recipts. Even if they were bold enough to undertake the task it would tie up all the IRS lackeys for millenium, giving Death a good few thousand years to work on his new Tax Evasion Plan (TM) and find a good country with a high death rate that does not extrodite.

- KrazyKooter

Death will, eventually, win. We all die. Except for Dick Clark, but he's not human anyway.

But, the thing is, with the exception of some serious divine heavyweights, and those people who end up on "Sightings", we all die only one.

We're taxed many, many times.

Only once will the cold, bony fingers of death rip your soul from your body. But every time you get your paycheck... every time you buy a stick of gum... every time you make a phone call, the hot sweaty fingers of the IRS rips just a little more money from your wallet.

And in a very real sense, money is life.

Let's face it... you never see anybody getting busted for "Death Evasion", do you?

Hell, you'll end up getting taxed for your own FUNERAL!

For the amount of total damage done over a lifetime, you just can't beat the taxman. And after that, Death is just one big tax-break.

- -Chris "Xoxotl" Kintz

After the IRS agent finishes his spiel, Death chuckles softly. He then takes several pieces of paper out of his cloak. First, he reveals his papers proving him to be a citizen of Monaco, and therefore immune to income tax. He also breaks out the non-profit number for the US branch of Death, Inc. The IRS agents, shocked at this development, skulk away.

- Anomynous

There can only be one outcome: the end of civilization as we know it.

Death starts out slaying any auditor who gets near him. (And don't tell me about government drones having no souls. His name says nothing about souls. It says Death.) The IRS, for its part, uses the 'human wave' tactic to throw Death into the clink, where he's poweless to reap his grisly harvest. Stalemate.

Aftera while, though, both sides realize they are in very similar businesses. The come to an arrangement, thereby unleashing the ultimate horror on the world: Death Taxes.

A bill to tax estates of the deceased at 100% passes Congress, after its opponents mysteriously die before the vote. (This coincidentally takes care of those pesky scandal investigations.) Death begins roaming the land again, with a white "IRS" stenciled on his cloak, and a huge spoils sack slung over his shoulder.

Joseph Stalin knew it decades ago: it's easiest to redistribute wealth when the people whose wealth you're redistributing are no longer around to complain.

-Call me Shane

Death will not have a problem with this audit for a rather simple reason. If he can prove U.S. Citizenship, that is. Otherwise he may wind up deported but that's INS, not IRS.

Excerpted From the IRS website:

|    To be considered operated exclusively for the promotion of
| social welfare, an organization must operate primarily to further
| in some way) the common good and general welfare of the people of
| the community (such as by bringing about civic betterment and 
| social improvements). An organization that restricts the use of 
| its facilities to employees of selected corporations and their 
| guests is primarily benefiting a private group rather than 
| the community and, therefore, does not qualify as a 
| 501(c)(4)organization
Death is very equal in his work. Everyone dies, true non-discrimination. Why is Death's work vital to social welfare? Two reasons:

1. Everyone has SOMEONE they want dead.
2. The increase in biomass on the Earth could not be sustained by current food sourcing means. We'd all starve. Even if we couldn't die, we'd -want- to after being hungry for a few years.

Death qualifies for a 501(c)(4) organization, and is thereby tax-exempt.

- -Mordenflagg (Come on, Mary..)

This contest can be put to rest with simple logical analysis.

(1) Death is more powerful than Superman.
(2) Superman is more powerful than the IRS.

Ergo, Death is more powerful than the IRS.

Proving (1) is easy. After all, even Superman will die of old age eventually.

Statement (2) was proven by an old comic book of my dad's. Superman was once charged with over a billion dollares in taxes. During the years he caught many criminals, many of whom had rewards. He donated all the money to charity, but it seems that the donations were not fully deductible. At the end, he got off because he could claim two and a half billion "dependents"-what was then the world population.

If the Man of Steel could get off, you bet that the grim reaper could.

- Mike

As every tightrope walker, sherpa mountain guide, parachutists, Evel Kneviel wannabe, and New York City pedestrian could tell you, Death can and is cheated every day with impunity (except for maybe some soiled undergarments).

You cheat on taxes, you go to jail (just ask Al Capone and any other prohibition era gangster).

Taxes the clear winner.

- Terpman

Death gets it in a heartbeat. Diplomatic immunity prevents the federal toadies from even touching him.


Please. Really. Death is a force of nature; last I checked, there was no god of taxes anywhere.

The Grim Reaper. In...less than a heartbeat.

- Adam

He'll call up his accountant King Midas. (He found it kind of useful to have him around to make a few gold nuggets everyonce in awhile.) Midas walks up to the IRS and asks how much his boss owes. It comes out to just over $5. (He received a big tax credit for when he took barney and wesley.) So what does Midas do, he just touches the nearest taxman and says, "Keep the Change."

Death in one gold irsman

- F.R.O.W.

Death knows that the best way to fight bureaucrats is to get other bureaucrats on your side, so he arranges a meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "Gentlemen," he intones. "The United States has had an admirable military history. That could change. How well do you think your army and navy would do in battle if your weapons could not kill the enemy? If this farce with the Internal Revenue Service does not cease immediately, your military will never again cause a single fatality. They may cause massive property damage, but not one enemy soldier will be killed, or even injured."

"You can't do that!" a general exclaims. Death's reply echoes through every room and coridor of the Pentagon. "I DID IT TO THE A-TEAM, AND I CAN DO IT TO YOU!"

The IRS cancells its audit within the hour.

- Joe Gottman

All I can say is this:

Death lost to Bill S. Preston(TM) and Ted Theodore Logan(TM), while Even Al Capone got caught on tax evasion.

Taxes wins in an auditing landslide.

- Jeff

In Death Vs. Taxes, it's important to note that the issue has already been decided! The IRS already has special "deceased" tax forms (no 1040EZ for you!) all ready for you after you shuffle off. Would they even bother with these forms if they didn't know that they could reach out to you beyond the grave and force you to pay? No, the IRS already has ultimate power over Death and he/she knows it.

- resin

To me, the winner in this fight is very obvious. It is all a matter of who is more powerful. Death is the winner.

While one argues that Taxes can be quite powerful and they seem to have been around a long time (the IRS dates back to 1913, but the concept of taxation dates back several thousand years), but all this pales to insignificance when compared to Death which has been around as long as life (at least 3.8 billion years as far Earth is concerned, add maybe another three billion or so if you consider the universe at large). Also, the IRS is being bashed by the very government it supports. Death on the other hand has never been threatened by any governmental agency. So, Death should have smooth sailing until it claims it ultimate victory over the Earth in about a half billion to a billion years from now when the aging sun warms the Earth beyond habitability.

- The Demented Astronomer

I really felt a pang of nostalgia reading Joe's responses. So confident, so bright eyed and optomistic; so dismally flawed.

In the comments given it seemed that both comentators felt that Death was older than taxes. I would beg to differ. To find the first documented source of taxes, let us refer to the Bible. "Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord" (Gen 4:3). We are also priviliged to read of the first documented tax audit, "But unto Cain and his offering [the Lord] had not respect" (Gen 4:5). Up till this point in history, while death had not even claimed a single soul, taxes had not only set a preceedent, but was performing it's first audit!

Also, taxes has an unbeaten record whereas Death (and sin) took an awful beating in the New Testament. While Christ may have claimed an undisputed victory over death, of taxes he said to "render unto Ceasar the things that are Ceasar's" (St. Mark 12:17).

All in all, Death is a lesser evil than taxes and is further hampered by being a one man(?) operation. The IRS is a modern cog in a very old machine. While Death may boast swiftness and efficiency the IRS would never dream of, it lacks the sheer power and historically preceedented evil that it would take to win a matchup such as this.

- Borris had a flying squirril and let it go

If Death were found guilty, Death would have to be sentenced. Since tax evasion isnt a capital offense, a "death" sentence is not an option. Therefore, Death will be set free on a technicality.

- Mark Wentz

Have you ever seen the ancient computers that the IRS uses? You know the ones - huge tape storage devices that fill up half the room running off some ancient mainframe bought in the 1950s that is probably a close relative of ENIAC, uses punch cards and vacuum tubes and has less computing power than most programmable calculators or an Atari 2600. Yes, if you have ever watched the evening news in the United States, you have seen these dinosaurs. There is no way, no how that those computers will be ready for the year 2000 problem. When January 1, 2000 comes along, that computer is going to think the year is 1900. Since, the "current" date will be earlier than the death date, according to the computer every single person in the system will be officially alive. Death is defeated (until they get a *real* computer system).

Interestingly, the computer will also notice that almost all the people on the system haven't been officially born yet either and thus do not exist. With a tax base made up solely centenarians on Social Security, Congress is forced to make major cutbacks - starting with the IRS. Government is shut down for six months until a new tax code that makes sense is put in place. With no bureaucracy, the US economy triples in size and makes enough money to pay off the national debt. Unemployment benefits are discontinued as unnecessary and all the former IRS workers starve to death since they have no employable skills.

Well, I guess Death does win after all...

- Paul G.

Death sulked quietly as the waiter brought him another cup of goat's blood. "Anything else, sir?"

"Go away. I want to be alone." Death sneared slightly in the waiter's direction as he walked toward the other end of the cafe. The Purgatory Cafe used to be the center of social activity between realms, but it was reduced to a shadow of its former self by incompetent employees like that one. "I should knock off a Hooter's franchise," Death said to himself. "That would make things more interesting up here."

Gabriel walked in the door, shivering from the cold. "Do you have let your weather fronts move to Purgatory all the time?" he asked disgustedly as he sat down. "It's freezing here." The waiter returned to the table and looked at Gabriel inquiringly. "Holy Water, my usual. No cream this time. You know how I feel about that."

"I can't do anything about it. The Cubs won the pennant, Hell froze over. You know how it goes."

"Yeah, I guess so," allowed Gabriel. "How's the runoff with Taxes going? St. Peter and I have $50 on the outcome."

"I can't do it, Gabriel. I just can't. I only get one shot at people. Once I've hit them, they're free from me. The IRS can nail you any time it bloody well pleases. How can I compete with that kind of ingenuity? Saves the rich, robs the poor. Would you believe I got audited last week?"

Gabriel popped open a peanut and tossed it back. "Not particularly. I got audited two months ago. The big man upstairs still can't figure out his 1040. I think you have too many of the accountants."

"Can I help it if they all embezzle funds? It's so frustrating. The adjustment to me is big at first, but people adapt. Then they get taxed again and again. I can't win," said Death in a resigned tone of voice. He slouched in his chair.

An abrupt ringing alerted him to the presence of his cell phone, and he pulled it out of his briefcase and activated it. "Nevermind, its mine," said Gabriel, activating his. Death closed his up and replaced it. "Yes? Wow. Okay, I can be there. No, I'm sure we'll live. Start packing, though."

Death raised an amused eyebrow. "What's going on?" he asked.

"The IRS foreclosed on Heaven. Apparently the tithes we're receiving aren't deductable income. I have to go." Gabriel hurried out the door. Death downed the rest of his Goat's blood and re-activated his cellular phone.

"Hello? IRS? This is Death. I'd like to concede defeat."


Death sat up, agitated. "Death. The Grim Reaper. That bony guy. I'd like to conceed defeat."

"Oh, you. You should know better than to trifle with me. You lost before the competition even started!" The man on the other end of the line collapsed into what sounded like a vicious fit of giggles. The sound was haunting.

"What? Who is this?!?" Death demanded.

"Bill Gates, of course. You really should know better, Grimmy."

- Puck

Result: tie

Death is of course unable to produce any recipts for his many "business related" purchases... new scythe w/ textured grips, spare robes, skull wax; I mean who's going to frightened by a dirty, scuffed visage of death.

Under pressure, and unwilling to suffer the greatest indignity of all, selling Taco's alongside Willie Nelson in a Taco Bell add, Death offers the IRS a compromise....... Death will work off his debt as an IRS employee.

The penalty for improperly filling out your 1040-a's; death.
The penalty for ignoring the instruction do not fold, spindle or mutilate; death.
The penalty for declaring your pet lemur as a dependant; a stern talking to.

- Doug "Boomstick" Weisgerber

In a tricky scenario like this, one must defer to the Modern Day Oracle on all matters of supreme combat: Vincent K. McMahon, Jr. As it always has been and ever shall be, the killing fields of the World Wrestling Federation reveal all wisdom for those who dare to look.

Fortunately for the case at hand, the WWF has employed two men who perfectly represent the epic battle above. Let us compare, contrast, and if we can, grow together.

WWF Superstar #1:

The Undertaker

Personification of Death. Master of The Other Side. Can control light with a gesture. Has been struck by lightning. Has been transformed into a skeleton, risen to the heavens, and exploded. Has been locked inside a coffin and incinerated. Has shrugged these inconveniences off and always come back to fight anew. Gained bizarre powers from the glowing urn. Has dramatic Monster Chiller Horror Theater-ish harpsichord theme song. Has been WWF heavyweight champion twice, the first time by defeating Hulk Hogan and his "by the way, I don't lose" contract. Wears black hat, purple gloves, long coat, lotsa tattoos, and a deadpan expression. Can gross out opponents by rolling eyes back into head. Greatest trick was magically coming up through the bottom of the ring in a steel cage match, to pull a terrified Diesel down into the fiery depths of brimstone and lost souls. Dispatches opponents with the Tombstone Piledriver. In his younger, all-evil days, used to zip losers' unconscious husks inside vinyl body bags, which he would proceed to stomp and otherwise abuse some more. Still as popular as when he debuted in the late 1980s.

WWF Superstar #2:

Irwin R. Shyster (aka I.R.S.)

Worthless prelim wrestler who'd previously attracted minimal interest as "Mike Rotundo" and "Michael Wallstreet." Lackey of The Million Dollar Man. Filled the lapdog role previously held by even-less-than-worthless bum Virgil. Greatest accomplishment was co-holding WWF tag team titles 5 separate times, but by definition that required outside help from Barry Windham or Ted DiBiase. Defeated opponents like Tatanka, the Mountie, Dino Bravo, or other fellow gorks on that level, except for the numerous times he was defeated by them. Carried a steel briefcase, allegedly filled with cash, that made him look as if he should be hawking WWF Superstar Ice Cream Bars to the drooling crowd. Greatest trick was periodically whacking wrestlers in the head with said briefcase while ref's back was turned, a wrestling maneuver about as original as making faces. No tattoos, but several nasty bruises. Had goofy "money, money, money, money, monnneeeeey" theme song. Wore a tie-- a NECKTIE!-- DURING his matches, stupidly providing opponents with handy weapon of strangulation. Irwin's fan support never waned, either, but semantically, there was a pretty obvious reason why his popularity could never go down. Currently semi-retired (which in professional wrestling means, "no one will hire him").

Shudder. If Vince McMahon promoted so-called fights like this, the WWF would be playing to smaller crowds than this summer's upcoming Vanilli tour. Irwin's dim memories of championship gold will prevent this from being a 9-second squash, the way King Kong Bundy vs. Special Delivery Jones was at Wrestlemania 1. But cracking the impressive ten-second barrier is all the solace Alan Greenspan & Friends will get out of this mismatch. Clearly, Taxes will pay.... and through the nose.... for meddling with the primeval forces.

The "die" is cast. And it's NOT pro-life. Taxes will be taking the full medical deduction for 1999.

The King of Tonga

Er... King, just to be clear on this, the WWWF is not affiliated with the World Wrestling Federation. Their lawyers made sure of that. - Eds.

Special "You could be an economist" award

We would like to take this opportunity to honour the following two respondents, who, using logical proofs, arrived at opposite conclusions using the same premise. John says that there are jobs for you folks in the Canadian government, if you're ever looking.

Hmmm. Well, we all know that the wages of sin are death. Since death is therefore a form of wage, and the IRS collects wages, I have to give the victory to them hands down.

- -- Whit

A proof of Death's victory in high-school algebra:

1. The wages of sin is death. [known postulate]
2.The wages of death is negative sin. [algebraic substitution on 1.]
3. You can't be taxed if you make negative income. [US tax code]
4. Death can't be taxed. [2 and 3] QED..

- Noser the Fishless

The Final Word


I think we're all rooting for Death here.

- John

If you liked this match, check out these other past matches:

King Midas v. The Grim Reaper
Kenneth Starr v. Bill Clinton
Other Horrifying™ Grudge Matches™

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