Race Car Designer Carrol Shelby Background

Car racing fans will enjoy the new movie, Ford v. Ferrari starring Matt Damon as legendary car designer Carroll Shelby. The movie retells the story of the Ford Motor Company in the 1960s as it struggled to increase sales during a downturn. A young junior Ford executive Lee Iacocoa, who went out to become a legendary Chrysler executive, comes up with the idea of selling faster, sexier cars to coming of age baby boomer drivers . This in turn leads to a business and racecar rivalry with Ferrari. Legendary designer Shelby, who was the winner Driver of the European race is brought into Ford to lead the project to develop a car to beat Ferrari at the 24-hours of Le Mans.

Shelby, played by Matt Damon, having decided to take Ford’s offer, needs to form his car design and testing team.


While Damon has landed a great deal with Ford, professional car driver and designer Ken Miles (Christian Bale) is struggling. Miles had been running a small business in Southern California fixing and modifying cars. He’s in his mid-forties, married with a young son to support. Although Miles is a worldclass driver and top-notch auto technician, his automotive shop is struggling financially. Then in a scary moment, two men in suits come from the IRS to the family home. He’s behind, apparently on his business –payroll taxes— Miles and his wife Mollie try to sort out their budget. A decision is made to close the shop and for Miles to get a job working for a private employer.

These plans ultimately are intersected by his friendship with Shelby, who reaches out to Miles to join the team and pay him ($200 per day, which was a lot of money back in the 1960’s) to develop the Ford GT-40. The rest is history, as they say. Ford defeats Ferrari at Le Mans and established a series of victories in that race that have yet to be matched by modern American racing teams. Ken Miles went on to be one of racing greatest drivers of his era.
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The scene in the movie of the IRS agents coming to the taxpayer’s home is still a scene that continues to unfold across America. Usually when this happens, things have gone bad. The business is behind on the payroll taxes. Not a quarter or two that will be fixed by filing and paying the tax due and the accompanying penalties. This is a situation where payroll is owed in tens of thousands of dollars and the monthly deposits are not being made. The taxpayer, hopes against hope that things will change. This leads to inaction and finally the business is forced to confront this problem by the IRS Agent. Things can go from bad to worse, when a frightened small business owner agrees to a plan with the IRS agent, without considering the businesses’ ability to carry out the required payments. This then leads to further problems.

Ken Miles happened to have a very good and successful friend in Carroll Shelby that helped him go on to great success. Not everyone is so lucky. For many, the small business that they have started or inherited from their parents is often the only business they have known. Oftentimes, businesses need to make changes to their practices to compete in the ever-changing technological and computer dominated world. They are often confronted with difficult tax and financial decisions. These are situations where the advice and guidance of a seasoned tax professional can make a world of difference in the outcome. Tax professionals guides the taxpayer offering options and information that would not be offered by the IRS Agent.

My practice has for over 20 years advised, helped small businesses in their tax problems in industries ranging from: restaurants, clothing manufacturers, cleaning , construction, electrical, wall covering, public relations, and many more.

If you have had a visit from the IRS as in Ford v. Ferrari, or are fearing one, please give my office a call to discuss your options.

Daniel M. Silvershein
Attorney at Law
262 West 38th Street, Suite 107
New York, NY 10018