Whether you’re an average Joe or a multi-million-dollar superstar, Uncle Sam’s gonna want their cut of your income. Taxes are an everyday necessity for the average American citizen. They’re used towards the betterment of our society including Medicaid, social security, and local services like parks and recreation. If someone neglects to pay their piece of the pie, trust and believe that the IRS never forgets. These next ten celebrities know that fact of life by a first-hand experience.
- Wesley Snipes
Known from blockbuster movies from the 90s and 2000s such as New Jack City and Blade, Snipes was uber popular during that time frame. But during that period of success, it seems that he was purposely avoiding those lowly taxes. The government claimed that Snipes failed to pay any tax returns from 1999 through 2004, amounting to about $7 million. During that time period, he ended up making $40 million due to his roles in television and film.
In 2008, he was convicted of three misdemeanor counts of failing to pay tax returns. Tax protester Eddie Ray Kahn and Snipes’ accountant Douglas P. Rosile were all convicted at the same time for supposed tax crimes that they committed together. Snipes was sentenced to three years in 2010 and served his sentence in full at McKean Federal Correctional Institution, a federal prison in Pennsylvania. He was released from prison in 2013.
- Willie Nelson
This iconic country singer dealt with a huge hit from the IRS in 1990, with a bill detailing $16.7 million in back taxes. Even though he enlisted an accountant and a tax relief professional to negotiate the balance down to $6 million, he still struggled to pay the gigantic bill down. In order to pay off what he had owed, the IRS seized most of Nelson’s assets and sold it at an auction.
Even though this situation is serious, Nelson took some time to laugh at himself by penning an album The IRS Tapes: Who Will Buy My Memories? back in 1992. The spectacle was a double-album that featured only Nelson and his guitar. The project surely helped him get back on his feet because by 1993, the debt to society was paid off.
- Martha Stewart
Along with delicious home-style recipes and flower arrangement, Stewart is also known for her multiple run-ins with the law. One surrounds tax evasion. She failed to pay taxes on her New York home, which stacked up to about $220 thousand in back taxes. She claimed that she didn’t spend too much time at that home, so she shouldn’t have to pay taxes on it. Soon after, she settled that payment to the State of New York.
- Lil Kim
Rapper Lil Kim fell into some trouble with the IRS in the early 2000s. Reports show that Lil Kim owned $1 million in back taxes from 2002 to 2009. She then promised she would pay it off, and enlisted accountants and tax relief professionals in order to get the job done right. Later, she fell into the same debacle when it was revealed that she owned over $200 thousand dollars in back taxes from her run during Diddy’s Bad Boy Reunion Tour in 2016. It’s unknown what the current status is of her back taxes.
- Marc Anthony
“Shocked” was how this Latin singer felt when he realized that he owed 2.5 million in back taxes, interests, and penalties back in 2007. He was under the impression that his personal accountant was taking care of filing and paying his taxes, but that wasn’t reality. Anthony’s brother and accountant both pled guilty to tax-related crimes. In the end, Marc Anthony wasn’t found criminally liable for his unpaid taxes.
- Chris Tucker
When it comes to sense-of-humor, this Rush Hour star was king during the late 90s and early 2000s. But surely, his problems with the IRS are nothing to joke about. His back taxes piled up for seven years, totaling $14 million. The astronomically large number must have shocked the comedian because he ended up settling the balance in about a week.
- Aaron Carter
If you were a child during the 90s or the early 2000s, then you probably have heard of the name Aaron Carter. He was well known for his chart-topping bubblegum hits like “I Want Candy” and “Aaron’s Party (Come Get It)” But as he got older, his taxes kept piling and piling up. He claimed that his parents weren’t managing his money well during his career as a teen star. By 2009, his back taxes had reached over $1 million. He ended up settling the tax debt years later, as an adult.
- Lauryn Hill
This ex-Fugee has been dealing with tax problems since the late 90s. In 2012, she pled guilty to three counts of failing to file tax returns between 2005 and 2007. She spent three months in a federal prison, followed by three months of home confinement, and a year of supervised probation. She also still must pay her taxes, along with a $60 thousand fine. As of recently, reports show that her debt was paid in full and she’s moving towards a brighter future, away from the IRS.
- Judy Garland
This iconic superstar is known for playing Dorothy Gale in 1939’s The Wizard of Oz, along with many other movie roles. She ended up dealing with tax issues for her entire life. But during the later years of her life, the IRS ended up repossessing her home in 1964 because she didn’t pay a $4 million tax bill. It seems that even the brightest stars will someday fall.
- O.J. Simpson
The ex-football star is known for a variety of dastardly deeds. But one you might not know about is tax evasion. He currently owes $1.4 million in back taxes to California. He was incarcerated in Las Vegas for kidnapping and parole, but he was released back in 2017. It’s unknown what the status of Simpson’s back taxes currently are.
No one is exempt from the overseeing eye of the IRS. If you’re currently dealing with tax issues, then you still have time to make it right. The longer than you wait to figure out your taxes, the worse the situation may get. Learn from the celebrities up above and take that first step to making your taxes right.