17 Celebrities Who Ran Into Tax Trouble – ThinkAdvisor

17 Celebrities Who Ran Into Tax Trouble
Regulation and Compliance > Federal Regulation > IRS

In most of their daily interactions, celebrities get to enjoy the special treatment that comes with being rich and famous. But when the extra attention comes from the IRS, celebrities may prefer to blend in with the crowd.
Here’s a look at 17 celebrities whose tax troubles made headlines, ranging from getting creative with business expense deductions to failing to file taxes. While some of these A-listers worked with the authorities to settle such charges, others had to deal with convictions that sent them to prison.
The “Blade” star did not file any tax returns from 1999 to 2001, according to People, racking up $41 million in tax debt. Snipes was convicted on three misdemeanor charges related to the offense. He was acquitted on charges of conspiracy to defraud the government and filing a false claim for a $7 million refund, as well as additional charges that he hadn’t filed returns from 2002 to 2004. He received a three-year prison sentence, which he completed from 2010 to 2013.

Credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons
As recounted by Rolling Stone, the IRS began seizing the pigtailed country crooner’s assets in 1990, claiming he had hidden income in tax shelters and owed $32 million in tax debt. The confiscated assets, including master tapes and platinum records, halved the debt, which included more than $10 million in interest and penalties. After meeting with IRS agents, Nelson settled the remaining debt in 1993, raising money by releasing an album titled The IRS Tapes: Who’ll Buy My Memories and starring in a Super Bowl ad for H&R Block.

Credit: Bloomberg
The troubled son of President Joe Biden agreed in June to plead guilty to federal misdemeanor charges of failing to pay his income taxes. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Delaware, Hunter Biden neglected to pay income taxes in 2017 and 2018 despite having a taxable income of $1.5 million and owing more than $100,000 in taxes in each of those years. Biden will appear in court to enter the plea later this month and will likely receive probation in connection with the case.

Credit: Bloomberg
Grammy-winning hip-hop icon Hill spent nearly three months in prison and three months under house arrest in 2013 after pleading guilty to charges that she failed to file tax returns from 2005 through 2007 when she earned nearly $2 million, according to Forbes. In addition to serving time in jail, the mother of six paid more than $970,000 in back taxes to both the state of New Jersey and the federal government as well as a $60,000 fine.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons
In 1994, a decade before the insider trading scandal that would send her to prison, the domestic maven paid more than $220,000 in back taxes to New York. As reported by The New York Times, the state had won a dispute with Stewart after she failed to file taxes in the state. The media mogul had claimed residency in Connecticut, but auditors found that she spent more than half of the year living in and doing business in New York.

Credit: Bloomberg
The rapper, whose given name is Jeffrey Atkins, spent about two years in prison in 2013 after pleading guilty to failing to file tax returns and racking up a tax debt worth more than $1 million and from 2004 to 2008, according to Reuters. Atkins served that sentence at the same time as a separate, two-year sentence on an unrelated gun charge.

The tax troubles for Atkins and his wife, Aisha, did not end with the prison sentence, however. In 2021, the U.S. government reportedly filed another suit against the couple, demanding more than $3 million in unpaid taxes owed from 2005 to 2010 and 2012 to 2017.

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As TMZ reported, in 2012, the IRS confiscated all of the starlet’s bank accounts to cover the more than $230,000 she owed in unpaid taxes from 2009 and 2010. The seizure came after her “Scream 5” costar Charlie Sheen gave Lohan $100,000 to put toward the debt. In 2017, the IRS filed another lien against LiLo, then living abroad, alleging that she still owed more than $100,000 in taxes for income earned in 2010, 2014, and 2015, according to People.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Three days after performing for then-president Jimmy Carter, the late “Inventor of Rock and Roll” received a sentence of four months in prison, four years of probation, and 1,000 hours of community service, according to The New York Times. The sentence followed a plea deal after an indictment for evading $109,000 in taxes and filing false returns. The IRS had spent five years investigating Berry, who famously insisted on being paid up front for every show in cash.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons
According to The New York Times, the all-time Major League Baseball hits leader spent five months in prison in 1990 for tax evasion for failing to report nearly $350,000 in income earned through the sale of memorabilia and autographs and appearances at card shows from 1984 to 1987.

His tax troubles didn’t end there. In 2004, the IRS placed another lien on Rose, alleging that he owed nearly $1 million in back taxes for earnings from 1997 to 2002.

Credit: Shutterstock
“Weezy” settled a $7.7 million debt to the IRS in 2012 after the agency had threatened to seize the rapper’s Miami mansion, according to the Daily Mail. The debt included $3.35 million owed in 2008, $2.25 million in 2009 and additional taxes and fees for unpaid taxes in additional years. In 2018, Lil Wayne told a crowd at a Chicago concert that fellow rapper Jay-Z helped him with the taxes, though it’s unclear what type of assistance Hova provided.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons
The founder of the “Girls Gone Wild” adult entertainment franchise pleaded guilty in 2016 to two counts of filing false tax returns. As Fox News reported, in exchange for the guilty plea, Francis agreed to pay $250,000 and receive credit for 10 months he had already spent in jail in connection with the 2007 indictment. He admitted to failing to report more than $560,000 in interest income on his 2003 tax return.

Prosecutors had also claimed that Francis included more than $20 million worth of fraudulent business deductions on his taxes, a claim disputed by his attorneys.

Credit: Glenn Francis/Wikimedia Commons
In 1995, The Straw Man pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion related to $344,00 in unreported cash earnings from autograph signing shows and personal appearances. He was back in hot water in 2007, when the IRS sued him to collect $500,000 in back taxes from four years between 1989 and 2004.

To cover the debt, Sports Illustrated explained, the agency seized Strawberry’s deferred compensation from the Mets. An anonymous buyer purchased the annuity at auction for $1.3 million in 2015, receiving nearly $9,000 per month from the Mets for 18 years.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons
The comedian and “Rush Hour” actor was in final discussions this year to settle an alleged tax debt worth $9 million, according to Radar Online. The debt reflects unpaid taxes from four years between 2002 and 2010, ranging from $470,000 to more than $4.5 million. Tucker has agreed to multiple payment plans with the IRS to chip away at the debt, and when he sold one of his homes in 2020, he used some of those proceeds to pay the IRS.

Credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons
After pleading guilty to a felony charge that he failed to pay state income taxes from 2008 to 2010, the youngest Baldwin brother paid back a total of $400,000 in installments ending in 2014. According to CBS News, Baldwin did not have to spend any time in jail in connection with the charges. After court, the actor said that the tax challenges had been a “great learning curve” and that he planned to “reconstruct my personal finances and do the right thing.”

Credit: Wikimedia Commons
According to The Sun, the Real Housewife of New Jersey owes more than $1 million in federal and New Jersey state taxes. That includes liens for various amounts of allegedly unpaid taxes from 2000 through 2021.

According to theU.S. Attorney’s Office, District of New Jersey, “the Giudices intentionally concealed businesses they owned, income they received from a rental property, and Teresa Giudice’s true income from the television show ‘The Real Housewives of New Jersey,’ website sales, and personal and magazine appearances.” In 2022, she paid off more than $360,000 in liens related to 2011 and 2012 taxes.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons
The “Jersey Shore” star pleaded guilty in 2008 to one charge of tax evasion, in connection to 2014 and 2017 indictments that alleged he did not pay taxes on nearly $9 million in income. People reported that Sorrentino’s guilty plea got him an eight-month prison sentence, which he served in 2019, a few months after getting married. Upon release from prison, Sorrentino and his wife put out a statement saying that they were “elated to finally close this chapter of our life.”

Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Even after spending more than four years in prison on charges of tax evasion, the winner of the first-ever season of “Survivor” maintained that he was innocent of the claims. “I never did anything deserving of prison time,” he told Oprah years later, according to Yahoo. “I never attempted to evade taxes, which was what I was convicted of.” Hatch’s conviction in 2006 stemmed from charges that he did not report $1.43 million in income received from winning “Survivor” in 2000.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons
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