You should not be shocked to learn that there are many celebrities that try to cheat the government on taxes.
From Willie Nelson to Wesley Snipes – millions of dollars have been either hidden or falsely claimed in fraudulent tax refunds. These two are some of the most well-known, but plenty of other celebrities have been found hiding assets in offshore accounts, tax shelters, and more.
Not all celebrities with tax problems are cheating the system or trying to cheat. These people have a lot of financial information that can accrue over a very short period of time. It’s understandable that mistakes can happen. The problem arises when a celeb tries to weasel out of paying those taxes.
Celebrities try to cheat their taxes for the same reason as anyone else – to keep their money.
Some believe they don’t ‘legally’ have top pay taxes due to some strange tax advice, which is what happened with Wesley Snipes. Not paying taxes isn’t a form of protest – it’s a crime. Other celebrities buy a lot of property or big ticket items (cars, boats, etc) and ‘forget’ to pay the taxes on these things. Property taxes can add up to millions.
When the Tax Man finally comes to call these celebrities might end up blaming their accountant or financial adviser, much like Nicolas Cage. His downfall was massive amounts of property that included mansions, yachts, and many cars.
Willie Nelson had the same problem, too many properties and too many back taxes. Nelson’s taxes added up to a cool $16 million. He reached a settlement with the IRS, but lost many properties. After the public found out about the problem many worked to help him pay off his debt. Nelson’s charity work appealed to his fans and farmers that he had raised money for, which is why many view the tax problem as one that could happen to anyone.
Wesley Snipes’ case was a little different from some of the past celebrities.
His tax advisers convinced him that over $12 million in taxes he had paid previously could be refunded. He was convinced that he had been paying taxes illegally. So Snipes protested by stopping payment of his taxes. He also filed for refunds of the monies he had paid for years.
The actor went through various courts, then finally ended up in prison for the tax evasion. He was released in April 2013. His tax advisers were also convicted and sentenced. One received ten years as a sentence, and the other received four years.
Not all celebrities try to evade taxes.
Most are just like the rest of us, working and paying the IRS every year. Their payments are far larger than most of us, but that’s to be expected.
As long as there are celebrities and taxes we’ll probably keep hearing about those that try to get out of paying them.
About the Author: Tina Samuels writes on home improvement, marketing, and online reputation management.
- Wesley Snipes is Out of Prison, and Into House Arrest (dailyfinance.com)