In just one week, Karen Klein went from grandmother to famous YouTube star, but not in a good way! The 68-year-old bus monitor became famous when a video online showed her being bullied and verbally harassed by a group of rude students. After the video went viral, thousands of dollars poured in as donations to help send Karen on a nice (and well-deserved) vacation. Those donations have reached a total of over $600,000 and many are wondering if she will be liable for paying taxes on that large sum.
According to tax lawyer Joanne Clark, "As a general rule, there are no income tax implications to the recipient/donee of a cash gift; If she invests that cash, she would be responsible for income taxes on any income derived from it."
Karen may want to start planning that vacation (or a few) and spending that money. IndieGoGo is continuing to collect donations for Karen, however donations are not tax-deductible for donors. Once Karen does take her vacation she may be ready to forgive the New York students that bullied her, however at this time she is not quite ready to forgive them even though many of them have apologized. The severity of their behavior has just been too much to take in for Karen and her daughter, who still can't believe how her mother was treated.
The YouTube video has over 5 million views and counting and the good news is that over 300,000 people are willing to treat Karen Klein properly and give her the vacation of a lifetime and maybe even the ability to retire and travel for years to come. In the end it seems like this story has a happy ending and good does prevail!