Nowadays, not a month goes by without us hearing of a celebrity owing huge sums of money to the IRS. The most recent victims, like Lauryn Hill and R. Kelly, both have been purposefully sought out for oweing hundreds of thousands (even millions). Ms. Lauryn Hill recently drafted a letter to the public explaining her reasons for her IRS woes. I’m not sure if this plea will help her case or not. But, I’m sure the IRS don’t really give two F&!$s about it. Uncle Sam just wants his money!
Nevertheless, it is somewhat strange that most of the news coverage revolves around Black celebrities in default. In the past 10 years, most of the cases I’ve heard of where of Black actors, athletes, artists, etc. Ron Isley, Wesley Snipes, Ja Rule, Swizz Beats, Chris Tucker, and even Sinbad have all been in the spotlight regarding a tax situation. Is it ironic? Or is it just mere coincidence? Are Black celebrities bringing unwanted attention to themselves with the big mansions and nice cars? I mean, African-Americans are said to be more prone to having bad spending habits and be more flashy. Has the flashiness backfired on celebrities? Or is it just the amount of money they make?
Celebrities of their caliber, like the folks I mentioned above, all make or have made millions of dollars in their careers. So that instantly puts them in a different tax bracket. Generally, most individuals who owes over $30,000 are signaled and their options for a payment plan is slim to none. It is almost definite that a celebrity will encounter a tax lien on their property(s). And because they are in the public eye, their story will be blasted everywhere. But it’s unfortunate that the media continues to sensationalize “our” mishaps by making a person’s personal business the cover story of the day.
If there is a secret task force strategically seeking out Black entertainers, the best way to avoid a jail sentence or paying back millions is to simply pay your taxes. At the end of the day, everyone has to be held accountable. Celebrities, especially, need to make sure they have a trusty team of accountants and lawyers working on their behalf. A lot of times celebrities hire these financial advisors who forget to (or improperly) file their taxes. They don’t ask for quarterly financial statements. They don’t ask for copies of their tax returns. They simply rely heavily on the accountants to handle their business. But this has proven to be “not the way to go”.
So…to all the celebrities out there, EDUCATE YOURSELVES! Stay on top of your paperwork and make sure that your taxes are filed on time each year. Even if the IRS is seeking you out on the low, don’t give them a reason to.
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