As the 2010 tax draws to a close, chances are that many this year will struggle to pay their taxes. In a previous post I explained some options small business owners have to make their tax obligations more manageable.
Even so, it may be tempting for some to try to get out of their obligations dishonestly.
To those who may want to evade their taxes, be warned: with strained budgets, many states in addition to the IRS are cracking down on those who try to side step their tax obligations. Moreover, California and New York have even taken to publicly posting a yearly roster of their biggest tax evaders.
Surprisingly, several celebrities have made these lists. But this is nothing new. Many rich and famous have tried to outsmart the IRS. Here is a list of some famous recent tax evaders:
Richard Hatch- The first winner of the reality TV show Survivor, Hatch failed to report his $1 million grand prize and instead had to survive time in prison.
Annie Lebovitz- According to the New York Post, the state of New York is demanding $135,916 in back taxes from this famous pop culture photographer.
Wesley Snipes- Actor Wesley Snipes was recently acquitted of federal tax fraud and conspiracy, but was found guilty on three misdemeanor counts of failing to file a tax return.
Willie Nelson- In 1990, Nelson was slapped with a $16.7 million bill by the IRS for back taxes. To cover the cost he wrote several albums and even sold his assets.
Damon Dash- In 2007, Dash, who is considered one of hip hop’s biggest mogels, was handed a bill for more than $2 million by the state of New York according to The New York Post.
Dwight Yoakam– The famed country music singer, Dwight Yoakam presently owes the IRS almost $458,000 in delinquent federal taxes, according to a new lien filed with the Los Angeles County Recorder of Deeds.
El DeBarge- This 80’s era R&B singer, best known for his solo hits Where’s Jonny and Love Always, has a $354,000 tax lien filed against him by the IRS.
Allen Stanford- Currently being held in custody for running a $8 billion ponzi scheme, the IRS has four federal tax liens from 2007 and 2008 against Stanford totaling more than $212 million.
Sinbad- Comedian Sinbad was the celebrity owing the most on California’s 250 “top tax scofflaws” released by the Franchise Tax Board in California in 2009. He is listed as owing over $2.5 million in personal back taxes.
Burt Reynolds- Another notable name on California’s 250 “top tax scofflaws” released in April of 2009 and updated earlier this year. He came in at No. 247 owing $225,000 dating back to 1996.
Daryl Strawberry– The former Major League Baseball player was convicted of tax evasion in the 90’s and returned to court in 2008 when he failed to pay the bill. He owes over $430,000 in back taxes, interest, and penalties.
O.J. Simpson- The former pro football player and actor can add tax evasion to his impressive list of legal problems. Simpson owes more than $1.4 million to the state of California.
Ruben Studdard- The winner of ‘American Idol’ owes close to $200,000 in federal and state taxes.
Heidi Fleiss- The infamous “Hollywood Madam” was convicted in 1997 for pandering, tax evasion and money laundering and sentenced to three years in prison.
Dennis Kozlowski- Former Tyco CEO, Kozlowski, bought $13 million worth of paintings for his Manhattan residence in 2002. To avert the sales taxes, he claimed that they had been shipped from out of state. It’s been downhill from there. Kozlowski is presently serving a 25-year sentence surrounding the Tyco bankruptcy.
Nicolas Cage– In 2009, the Academy Award winning actor reportedly owed about $6.5 million to the IRS. Cage claimed that the financial oversight was the fault of his former business manager. Whatever the case, he was forced to foreclose on his multi-million dollar Las Vegas home in November 2009.
Duane “Dog” Chapman- The star of the reality show, ‘Dog the Bounty Hunter’ had $2 million in tax liens in January 2009.
Pamela Anderson- In 2009, the former Baywatch beauty and Playboy model received a $1,700,173 lien from the IRS. The state of California also recently filed a $252,360 tax lien against her in Los Angeles.
Julio Cesar Chavez- Considered the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world, Chavez faces two tax liens with a combined value of just under $12.8 million.
Randy Quaid- The IRS has filed tax liens against the Golden Globe winner totaling more than $1.16 million.
Patti LaBelle- Grammy Award-winning R&B singer, Patti LaBelle owes more than $337,000 in federal taxes.
Robert Patrick- Famous for his tough-guy roles in Cop Land and Terminator 2, Patrick owes more than $176,000 to the IRS and state of California.
Teri Polo- Actress Teri Polo who starred in Meet the Parents and Meet the Frockers owes $433,736 in delinquent state and federal taxes.
Val Kilmer- Actor Val Kilmer currently owes $538,858 in federal taxes.
Chris Tucker- The Rush Hour star received a $3.6 million tax lien in June from the state of California.
Forest Whitaker- Award winning actor Forest Whitaker currently owes $1.27 million in state and federal taxes.
Robin Givens- In May 2009, the U.S. government sought to sue Givens for $292,000 for allegedly failing to pay federal taxes, including interest and penalties.
Sherilyn Fenn- An actress best known for her role as Audrey Horne on “Twin Peaks,” Fenn owes $176,593 in state and federal taxes since 2006.
Brian McKnight- R&B singer, songwriter, and musician, Brian McKnight, currently owes more than $257,000 in federal taxes.
MC Hammer- The State of California and IRS have filed liens against rapper MC Hammer this year totaling more than $671,000.
Aaron Carter– The recently eliminated “Dancing with the Stars” contestant and former teen idol owes over $1 million in back taxes to the government.
Leona Helmsley– The New York hotel tycoon was known to have quipped, “We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.” She was sentenced to almost two years in prison along with a $7 million fee in 1990 for with holding millions of dollars in taxes.
Floyd Mayweather Jr.- In 2007, the famous boxer owed over $6 million to the IRS, most of which has since been paid off.
Stephen Baldwin- In July of 2009, the youngest of the Baldwin clan filed for bankruptcy along with his wife. He owes the IRS $1,084,000.
Jim Thorpe- The champion golfer faces up to two years in jail and $4.1 million in fines after he pleaded guilty for failing to pay over $2 million in income taxes
Snoop Dogg- The IRS has filed a tax lien for nearly $600,000 against rapper and actor Snoop Dogg. This is on top of the $284,053 that he owes the state of California.
Nas– Nas, an actor and rapper and considered to be one of the Greatest MC’s of All Time according to MTV has been slapped with a $2,500,000 lien by the IRS.
Anthony Mason- Former power forward with the NBA, Anthony Mason earned over $40 million during his career. Now he owes approximately $1.8 million in taxes on those earnings.
- The Detroit News