Corporate executives and Joe Six-Packs aren’t the only ones who face scrutiny and life-changing audits from the IRS. So does America’s Royal Family — our celebrities.
By Michael Rozbruch
The life of a celebrity can be hard.
Ignoring the hefty paychecks and the clout to get on the top of a restaurant reservation list, celebrities have it rough.
They’re stalked by crazy fans.
They’re stalked by paparazzi feeding their not-so-flattering images into a celebrity culture that has made even C-stars fodder for shows like TMZ.
And they’re also stalked by the Internal Revenue Service, which in recent years has shown it has no reverence for stardom.
U.S. celebrities these days have been in the news for tax troubles as often as they have been for adopting children from faraway lands.
Indeed, in our celebrity-crazed society, celebrity tax troubles are as good a story as the next Britney meltdown.
Consider this: Celebrity-obsessed TV show Access Hollywood recently put together a list of some of the beautiful and famous who ran into taxing situations with Uncle Sam.
Among those who made Access Hollywood’s list:
- Richard Hatch, the conniving nobody who became a somebody when he won the first season of CBS’s hit show Survivor, is now serving time in the big house for evading taxes. Hatch was convicted of failing to report the $1 million in prize money he received for winning Survivor. So he’ll be surviving in a jail cell until 2009.
- Marc Anthony, J-Lo’s hubby, failed to file returns with the IRS from 2000 to 2004, during which time he earned $15.5 million from his recordings and performances. He was ordered to pay $2.5 million in back taxes, though he was not charged with a crime.
- Wesley Snipes, the actor who wore long canines as he vanquished evil vampires on screen, didn’t report to the IRS two contracts he received worth more than $10 million. He was convicted of three misdemeanor counts of failing to file a tax return.
- Joe Francis, who produces the ubiquitous Girls Gone Wild videos, was charged with claiming more than $20 million in phony tax deductions for his companies.
Unlike popular culture, the IRS doesn’t treat celebrities any differently than it treats you or the wealthy executive on the other side of town.
And, indeed, the IRS has only become more aggressive — for everyone.
Whether you’re an average person, a celebrity or a celebrity hopeful, it’s no time to be on the wrong side of the tax law. Just ask those who made Access Hollywood’s list.
Michael Rozbruch is a Certified Tax Resolution Specialist, a member of the American Society of IRS Problem Solvers and a Maryland CPA. You can contact him at 866-IRS-PROBLEMS to obtain a free subscription to his newsletter titled The IRS Times & Inquirer.
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