November 13, 2018

Celebrities with Tax Trouble

A Friendly Notice for Celebrities: Your Accountant Is Not Your Mother

Fresh off Rihanna's massive settlement from her former accountant Peter Gounis and his firm Berdon LLP, we have another story of a poor celebrity led wrong by his trust financial advisor. Colin buried it in ANR but here you go: McKnight has filed a lawsuit against Vernon Brown and Company, claiming Brown ruined his life […]

Let’s Give Courtney Love Credit for Being Tax Compliant in 2008 and 2010, You Guys

In point of fact, I do not know if Ms. Love is in compliance in the tax years of 2008 and 2010, however it stands to reason that if she were not, the lien filed on July 11th by the IRS would have included amounts due in those years. The IRS filed a tax lien against the […]

Lauryn Hill Could Use a Hand Here

Actually, Judge Madeline Cox Arleo knows that Ms. Hill is a person with "substantial assets" so she's not sure why it has taken so long to come up with the $504k that she owes in criminal tax liability. Nevertheless, Judge Arleo is giving her two weeks to cough it up and Hill's attorney, Nathan Hochman […]

Lauryn Hill Pleads Guilty to Tax Evasion, Her Lawyer Blames Her Celebrity For the Circus

When was the last time we heard a celebrity in tax trouble complain that the only reason they're being targeted by the IRS is because they are a celebrity? The defense of Lauryn Hill's failure to file for three years is really no different, except in this case Hill's attorney (who happens to be a […]

FYI: Going Off the Grid for Your Personal Safety Does Not Constitute a Legitimate Reason for Not Paying Taxes

Last week, we learned that musician Lauryn Hill was a little behind on her taxes. Not unusual for a celebrity, many of whom are artists first and taxpaying citizens of the United States second. However, on her Tumblr, Ms. Hill set the record straight that her noncompliance was not willful and malicious, but rather 100% […]

Is It Impossible for a Dancing With the Stars Champion to Get A Decent CPA?

I only ask because Kelly Monaco could use one. Robert Snell reports that she owes about $68k to Feds which is odd considering she beat the likes of Evander Holyfield, J. Peterman, and Joey from New Kids on the Block. Can’t someone help the girl out? And not with the tango. [TW]

Ja Rule Wouldn’t Be in This Mess If He Had a Decent Accountant

Let’s be honest though, “decent” is probably pushing it. A “below average” accountant could have slapped some numbers on a 1040 and hit the button.

Ja got twenty-eight months for failing to file income tax returns and claims that “[I]n no way attempted to deceive the government or do anything illegal,” he said. “I didn’t know how to deal with these finances, and I didn’t have people to guide me, so I made mistakes.” Anyone near Oneida that’s looking for a new client should feel free to drop by the correctional facility to make a pitch. [HP]

When It Rains, It Pours: R. Kelly Hit with Tax Lien

If you’ve been poking around the web the last couple of days, you probably heard that R&B singer R. Kelly is in danger of getting thrown out of his house. It’s an unfortunate turn of events for RK who stopped paying his mortgage payments trying to strongarm JP Morgan into modifying his loan.

Unfortunately for R., it appears he also has blown off the IRS. Delinquent celebrity taxpayer scoop artist Robert Snell reports:

Music industry bad boy R. Kelly has more than foreclosure to worry about. Kelly, the controversial R&B star owes more than $837,000 in delinquent federal taxes, records show.

Snell reports that the IRS released a $1 million lien just last month against RK, so it’s unclear if this little oversight is the result of his JPM negotiating strategy or he’s still getting caught up on things.

R. Kelly believes he can fly — from tax bill [Tax Watchdog]

Supreme Court Has Better Things to Do Than Listen to Wesley Snipes’ Appeal

The Nine are not easily starstruck.

And there is no celebrity high court that we are aware of, so this could be the last time we ever have to speak of this again. [TaxProf]

Marlee Matlin Can Add ‘Constitutionally Challenged’ to Her List of Disabilities

Academy-Award winning actress Marlee Matlin admits to People mag that she owes $50,000 to the IRS and isn’t at all embarrassed by this fact. ”I’m paying it back. I’m not shying away from it and I’m certainly not ashamed of it,” Matlin told the magazine. “It doesn’t mean I’m a bad person. It’s reality. It’s the reality that a lot of people in America are facing.” You tell ’em, girl!

The Celebrity Apprentice “star” (we use that term loosely, not being a huge fan of D-lister reality shows featuring hot messes such as Gary Busey and Lil’ Jon) tells People celebrity isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and, in fact, it’s her four kids and modest middle class life in the ‘burbs that is to blame. “Living modestly in a suburban neighborhood while trying to support four children through private school is not extravagant or living large,” Matlin said. “My husband is a Los Angeles area police officer and between the two of us we have always made ends meet in the past — and we will in this circumstance as well.”

To adjust to their new life as (probably accidental) tax protesters, the Matlin clan plans to make some important financial adjustments, like putting their poor children into public school. “At the end of the day, it’s about the best interests of the children,” she said. “Transitioning out of a private school environment will certainly relieve some of the financial pressures but hopefully this will not compromise the kids.”

Yes, hopefully it will not. Let the record reflect AG is a product of public school and we all know how horribly I turned out; someone pray for those kids.

Despite these hardships, Matlin seems upbeat and not at all worried about what this means for her reputation (let’s hope the IRS didn’t put her in the non-TIGTA-friendly “Tax Terrorist” category). “I’m not broke. Like everybody else, I owe money. My family is healthy and happy.”

Marlee Matlin Is Paying $50,000 in Back Taxes [People]

Of Course There’s a Nicolas Cage Tax Story on April 15th

It wouldn’t be tax day (in form, if not necessarily in substance) if the Raisin Bran™ of celebrity tax delinquents, Robert Snell, didn’t have a scoop today.

To make it even better, today’s edition is none other than perpetually tax-plagued Nicolas Cage.

In a storage locker last month, cops found Nicolas Cage’s rare $1.5 million, Superman comic book, which was stolen from the actor a decade ago. About the same time, the Oscar winner found kryptonite in his mailbox.

The IRS just sent the financially strapped screen star a $624,934 bill for delinquent federal taxes, according to public records.

If this level of irony doesn’t cause you to believe in some kind of benevolent god, then I feel sorry for you.

IRS hands Nicolas Cage pocket full of kryptonite [Tax Watchdog]

Osbournes Pay Off Tax Lien, May Be on the Hunt for a New Accountant

It sounds like the Osbournes need to find themselves a new Mort Mort Feingold.

“I […] contacted my accountant who said they knew nothing about any lien. The lien has been paid. I do intend to find out how this lien happened without the knowledge of myself or my accountants. I hope none of this reflects negatively on mine and Ozzy’s moral character.” […] “Just because you’re paying someone doesn’t mean they’re doing the job correctly,” she wrote on Friday. Three days later she added, “You can’t rely on anyone but yourself. You have to be on top of your own business affairs. My fault … lesson learned.”

Ozzy Osbourne pays off U.S. tax debts [Reuters]

These Videos More or Less Portray What It’s Like Being an Accountant for Celebrities

Celebrities suck at taxes. This is known. From Young Buck to Jaime Pressly, there are no shortage of talented-ish people that find themselves in a world of hurt when in comes to complying with the IRC. How any accountants to the stars manage to keep their clients from completely losing their shit this time of year is anyone’s guess.

Luckily for us (everyone out there seems to be suffering from a busy season hangover), a couple of videos we stumbled across more or less put this niche expertise into perspective:


Alan Kaufman, Rock Star Accountant from Dan Meth on Vimeo.

The question over at TV.com, however, is whether or not SNL got its idea for Mort Mort Feingold, Celebrity Accountant from Alan Kaufman, rock star accountant. You can debate that if you feel so inclined but the realism of each is what’s noteworthy here. Anyone with firsthand experience in the A, B, C, or D celebrity clients is invited to share anecdotes at this time.

IRS Eases Up on the Tax Liens for the Little People; Celebrities Not So Lucky

Commissioner Doug Shulman said in a statement today that the agency would make it easier for taxpayers to seek withdrawal of liens when they pay a tax debt or make arrangements to pay in installments for debts of less than $25,000. The agency also raised the dollar thresholds before liens are typically filed. “We are making fundamental changes to our lien system and other collection tools that will help taxpayers and give them a fresh start,” Shulman said in the statement. “These steps are good for people facing tough times, and they reflect a responsible approach for the tax system.” [Bloomberg]

Doesn’t Anyone Want to Help Jaime Pressly with Her Tax Problem?

C’mon, guys. No one is willing to scrape together $700k to help this girl out?

Robert Snell’s latest scoop has Ms Pressly owing California $57k in addition to the $95k lien he reported on last month. The IRS is asking for a bit more – $542,069 to be exact. Maybe a couple partners could team up on this? Seems like a small price to pay to be a hero to Joy Turner.

Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson Would Like the IRS to Quit Slapping Liens on People

Presumably this means celebrities too! That is, until the IRS can show that it’s actually an effective means of collection and not so ‘hard core.’

Olson has accused the agency of relying too heavily on an automated “one-size-fits-all approach.” She said the agency misguidedly files liens against people who have no money and no assets.

“Absent data that show liens make a meaningful contribution to revenue collection and especially in this economy, I find it unacceptable that the IRS continues to torment financially struggling taxpayers in this way,” Olson wrote in a news release accompanying the report.

Perhaps Olson has a point but then Robert Snell over at Tax Watchdog might not have a job and we’d hate to see that happen. The guy is like Raisin Bran™ on the celebrity tax deadbeat.

IRS’s ‘hard-core’ collection tactics needlessly harm taxpayers, report says [WaPo]

You Realize We Will Be Without Wesley Snipes for Three Years, Don’t You?

Sure, it could be shortened for reasons that can’t currently be foreseen but this is a huge blow to the culture…oh, to hell with it.

Judge Terrell Hodges was fed up with this circus and dude is going to jail.

Wesley Snipes was ordered on Friday to start serving a three-year prison sentence for a felony tax conviction after a Florida judge rejected his bid for a new trial.

“The Defendant Snipes had a fair trial … The time has come for the judgment to be enforced,” U.S. District Judge Terrell Hodges said in his ruling.

Accounting News Roundup: Signs of Compromise on Tax Cuts; KPMG Caught in Between IRS, Wells Fargo; BDO Elects New Board Members | 11.05.10

White House signals compromise on tax cuts [Reuters]
A conciliatory White House said on Thursday it was willing to negotiate with Republicans on tax cut extensions, but Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell took a hard line against compromises with President Barack Obama in a new Congress.

In the first possible policy shift since Democrats suffered heavy election losses two days ago, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs signaled Obama was open to talks on a temporary extension for the wealthy of Bush-era tax cuts that expire at the end of the year.

New York Court Sends “Amazon Tax” Case Back for More Information [Tax Foundation]
[T]he intermediate court of New York handed down its long-awaited “Amazon tax” opinion in Amazon.com, LLC v. New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. New York requires companies with no property or employees in New York to collect New York sales tax if the non-resident company receives revenue from in-state independent affiliates.

Qantas Blames Rolls-Royce for Engine Failure [WSJ]
Qantas Airways Ltd. Chief Executive Alan Joyce on Friday said the design of Rolls-Royce Group Plc engines could have caused a mid-air failure that forced one of its A380 super jumbos to make an emergency landing in Singapore.

“This is an engine issue and the engines were maintained by Rolls-Royce since they have been installed on the aircraft,” Mr. Joyce told reporters at the company’s headquarters in Sydney. “We believe this is most likely a material failure or some kind of design issue.”

BBC strike silences Today and hits TV news [FT]
BBC journalists ignored the pleas of their editor-in-chief on Friday, taking strike action over plans to cut their pension benefits and driving familiar morning news programmes off the air.

The Today programme on Radio 4 was replaced with pre-recorded material, including a documentary on bird life in the Humber estuary, while Radio 5 Live and the BBC’s morning television news were produced with skeleton staff and unfamiliar presenters.

IRS looks into Wells Fargo tax deductions [MST]
A dispute between the Internal Revenue Service and Wells Fargo & Co. that has been quietly taking shape in a Minneapolis federal court could cost the bank hundreds of millions of dollars.

The clash involves “sale-in, lease-out” (SILO) transactions in which a tax-exempt entity transfers tax benefits to a taxpayer like Wells Fargo, in exchange for a fee. The IRS says Wells Fargo has claimed nine-digit losses for tax purposes on such deals, but the government considers them an illegal tax dodge.


BDO USA, LLP Announces Results of Board Elections [BDO]
Brian Eccleston, Scott Hendon, Albert Lopez and Brad Schrupp have each been elected to the firm’s board of directors. These elections, which are for a three-year term, are effective immediately.

“The partnership has shown wise judgment in electing these very deserving individuals and I am confident that the firm will benefit from the insight they will bring to the process,” said Jack Weisbaum, CEO of BDO USA.

Actress’ name is mud in tax man’s eyes [Tax Watchdog/Detroit News]
Jaime Pressly is the actress and she owes $376k.

Paul Hogan Is Pleased to be Back on U.S. Soil

“I have come to this great tax haven, the USA, where the IRS are gentlemen compared to our lot.”

~ Mick Dundee isn’t making a helluva lot sense but it’s fine, he’s still more or less a celebrity.

How Desperate Is Wesley Snipes to Stay Out of Jail?

SO desperate that in addition to appealing his conviction on any possible grounds, that he has hired private dicks (allegedly!) to following Ponzi Schemer du jour (allegedly!) Ken Starr’s wife, Diane Passage.


Passage told the Post, “I was leaving, and I noticed two men trailing behind me. They stood out because they were wearing dark suits on a 90-degree day. They followed me for a block and a half, then I lost them because they were sweating so much. They contacted my doorman and my attorney, and said they wanted information that might help Snipes. He was a client [of Starr] in 2000 but before I met my husband. I have nothing to do with his taxes.”

So, naturally, this is all very confusing, as the connection between the pole dance master’s problems (frozen bank accounts) and Willie Mays Hayes’s problems (looking at 3 years in the joint for tax evasion) is basically nil.

The only that we can come up with is that Wes is reaching the obscurely known “celebrity realizes that they are for real, like really real, going to jail” freak-out stage.

Wesley Snipes has private eyes after Ponzi schemer Starr’s wife [NYP]

Paul Hogan Returns to Australia to Bury His Mother and Now Australia Won’t Let Him Leave

And you thought the IRS was a bunch of cold SOBs.

To be fair, the Aussies are pretty bent out of shape over the long-running dispute over taxes owed on Mick’s $37+ million in earnings. Hogan has responded to all the Australian Taxation Office’s requests with a consistent “blow me” which probably hasn’t gone over to well Down Under.

Actor Paul Hogan, best known for playing an outback hunter in the “Crocodile Dundee” movies, has been stopped from leaving Australia until he pays a multi-million dollar tax bill, according to his lawyer.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) served U.S.-based Hogan with a departure prohibition order when he returned to Sydney last Friday for the funeral of his 101-year-old mother Florence, his lawyer Andrew Robinson said in a statement.

This prevents the 70-year-old actor from leaving Australia until any alleged tax debts are paid or arrangements made for the tax liability to be discharged.

Taxman bars Crocodile Dundee from leaving Australia [Reuters]

The IRS Is Unlikely to Take Blood Diamonds as Payment for Naomi Campbell’s Tax Lien

Where’s a Liberian warlord when you actually need one?


NC owes the Treasury around $60k which is really NBD seeing how that’s probably what she spends on antique torture tools to use on her assistants. In a weekend.

Plus, her boyfriend is the so-called “Donald Trump of Moscow,” which could mean a lot of things but it for sure means that dude is rich.

IRS slaps tax lien on model Naomi Campbell [Tax Watchdog]

Those IRS Shotguns Are Seeing Some Action

When Young Buck woke up yesterday morning, he probably wasn’t expecting IRS agents armed to the teeth barging in and taking everything in sight.

But according to TMZ, that’s exactly what happened.

According to Young’s rep, IRS agents rolled up to the platinum-selling rapper’s house in Nashville this morning to go on a repossession rampage over the alleged tax debt — seizing assets like recording equipment, jewelry, furniture, his platinum wall plaques … and even his kids’ PlayStation.

Allegedly YB owes $300k in back taxes which isn’t the largest sum but it’s sizable enough. When TMZ asked Mr Buck how he got himself into such a pickle he responded, “This IRS situation came about because I trusted accountants, lawyers, and managers to handle my business for me while I focused on making music. From now on, I am going to stay on top of my own business.”

Hopefully this doesn’t mean that the music doesn’t suffer like the business did. We can’t imagine such a huge blow to the culture.

Rather Than Admit that She Was Getting Tax Advice from Reggie Bush, Khloe Kardashian Blames Her Accountant

Because there doesn’t appear to be anything else going on today, we’ll be forced to tell you that Khloe Kardashian should now be at the top of your shit list for reasons none other than she is blaming her accountant for not paying her taxes.


TMZ reported yesterday that K-squared III owed California around $18.5k for ’07. Now the word is that she did pay but the accountant failed to remit the amount owed. Everything is cool though because, by the grace of God, Khloe has found a new accountant and everything should be cleared up shortly.

The only question that remains is, if she paid this twice, what the hell happened to the original $18k? Did the accountant just blow out of town with some Kardash cash? Did it somehow wind up in Reggie Bush’s pockets? Is there a spectacular Ponzi Scheme behind the whole thing that will result in the Kardashians being wiped out of popular culture altogether? God, we can only hope.

Khloe Kardashian — My Accountant Ate My Tax Lien [TMZ]

Chris Tucker Is Making a Run at Nicolas Cage-Level Tax Trouble

Maybe! CT owes the Treasury $11.5 million for back taxes, according to reports. This covers the 2001-2002, 2004-2006 tax years.

This sum nips on the heels of the $14 million that Nic Cage paid the Feds last year (and the $3.8 million he owes California for this year). In addition to the sum due to Shulman & Co., Tucker owed California $3.5 million last year, so, clearly, we’ve got ourselves a race here.

The difference is that NC has been working, which gives him a glimmer of hope of being in full compliance.


Tucker hasn’t been in a film since Rush Hour 3 in 2007 which, as some have pointed out, may be extremely good news for fans of that particular franchise.

Chris Tucker — 11 Million Tax Problems [TMZ]

Being a Former 007 Does Not Entitle Sean Connery to a ‘License to Not Pay Taxes’

Meant to get this out there on Friday but you know how it is. Anyhoo, everyone’s favorite Bond-turned-Darrell Hammond impersonated celebrity, Sir Sean Connery is having a bit of tax trouble in the country now known as the World Cup champions:

Legendary James Bond actor Sean Connery is being investigated for alleged tax fraud involving the sale of two large tracts of land in Spain.

Investigators say a property firm linked to the 79-year-old actor failed to pay taxes after he and his second wife sold land they owned on the outskirts of Malaga, Spain

The fact that the Connerys haven’t been arrested and are merely celebrities being investigated because some real estate companies involved in some shady dealings should be enough evidence to indicate that celebrity news is waning in the dog days of summer. Dr. Henry Jones wasn’t quote in the Daily Mail’s story but we’re hopeful that, if asked, it would go more or less go like this:

Can Someone Give Wesley Snipes a Hug?

Because the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruined his day, “The district court acted well within its considerable discretion in sentencing Snipes to thirty-six months in prison.”

WS was looking for probation for his conviction of willful failure to file federal income tax returns.


wes snipes

[h/t White Collar Crime y TaxProf]

Add “Slapped with Tax Lien” to Lil Wayne’s Accomplishments While in Prison

Robert Snell over at Tax Watchdog tell us about Lil Wayne’s latest problem. This time it’s a $1.1 million tax lien courtesy of the IRS via Dade County Florida.

It’s probably NBD for LW, as he’s dealt with the Service in the past, paying a $977k lien back in August of ’08.

What is interesting is that this particular legal snag is on top of several other accomplishments that Wayne-o has stacked up while in prison.


Last month, he pleaded guilty to a laundry list of drug charges – possession of a narcotic drug for sale, misconduct involving weapons, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of dangerous drugs – related to a stop that occurred outside Yuma, AZ in 2008.

He [pleaded guilty] over a live video feed from Rikers, and will most likely get 36 months of probation in return (the official sentencing is scheduled for June 30). For those keeping track at home, the plea bargain follows sports blogging, life-saving, prison-rule flouting, and rapping as things Wayne has accomplished while in jail.

And now delinquent taxes. Very impressive.

Lil Wayne, big debt [Tax Watchdog]
Famously Hardworking Rapper Pleads Guilty to Drug Charges While Already in Prison [Vulture]

Accounting News Roundup: Auditors ‘Portray Worrying Lack of Skepticism’; Are Tax Strategies Patentable?; Method Man Pleads Guilty, Cuts Check for NYC Tax Evasion | 06.29.10

FSA accuse auditors of failing to question management bias [Accountancy Age]
The Financial Services Authority has decided that it was about time it called out a few people, “Auditors have become yes men who don’t adequately question management bias according to concerns raised by the UK’s chief financial regulators. The Financial Services Authority (FSA) and the Financial Reporting Council today released a scathing discussion paper into the profession following concerns raised in the wake of the financial crisis. Among its concerns is that auditors ‘portrays a worrying lack of skepticism’ when scrutinising potential management bias.”

Not onlef=”http://www.accountancyage.com/accountancyage/news/2265630/fsa-audit-report-regulator”>FSA wants new enforcement powers including the ability to ” fine, censure or disqualify audit firms.” The FSA also wants to meet with auditors several times a year, rather than just once, as well as direct access to audit committees.

Alex to Become Hurricane as Swells Reach Gulf Spill [Bloomberg]
“Tropical Storm Alex, the first named system of the Atlantic hurricane season, strengthened today, forcing the evacuation of rigs in the Gulf of Mexico and pushing swells toward the worst U.S. oil spill.

The storm, packing maximum sustained winds of 70 miles (110 kilometers) per hour, was 460 miles southeast of Brownsville, Texas, before dawn today, moving north-northwest at 8 mph, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in an advisory. The circulating winds were near reaching hurricane status of 74 mph.”

New York state may tax out-of-state hedge fund execs [Reuters]
Desperate idea of the day from the brain trust in Albany, “Recession-hit New York could raise an extra $50 million a year by collecting income taxes from people who work for hedge funds in the state but live elsewhere, according to a legislative plan to raise revenue…A spokesman for Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said by telephone on Monday that it means hedge fund managers would be treated the same way as other commuters.”


Aprill: The Impact of Bilski on Tax Strategy Patents [TaxProf Blog]
In non-PCAOB SCOTUS news, the decision in Bilski v. Kappos addressing “Whether a ‘process’ must be tied to a particular machine or apparatus, or transform a particular article into a different state or thing (‘machine-or-transformation’ test), to be eligible for patenting….” was examined by Ellen P. Aprill of Loyola-L.A. regarding the impact on tax strategy patents:

“Bilski is at best a mixed bag for those who think tax strategies should be patentable. It gives little help and does allow business method patents, albeit somewhat begrudgingly. It demonstrates that for those who believe that tax strategies should not be patented, legislation is needed.”

Method Man pleads guilty to NYC tax-evasion charge [AP]
“Hip-hop star Method Man pleaded guilty to a tax-evasion charge Monday, writing a check on the spot for the final $40,000 restitution payment after owing about $106,000.” What, no cash?

U.S. Court to Hear Janus Appeal In Securities Case [Reuters]
“The lawsuit, brought on behalf of those who bought Janus stock from mid-2000 through early September 2003, alleged that the prospectuses of several of Janus funds created the misleading impression that the company would adopt measures to curb market timing, when in fact secret arrangements with several hedge funds permitted such transactions, to the detriment of long-term investors.”

Wesley Snipes May Still Be Able to Get Back into the Vampire Game

If it wasn’t for WS, there would be no vampire craze. Sure the last Blade film was six years ago. And sure the first in the series was twelve years ago but it doesn’t mean the man still didn’t start the popularization of bloody-thirsty, sexy undead types.

However, this prison sentence thing hanging over his head has probably made him a bit of a liability. But thanks to some crafty lawyering, he’s been able to stave off the joint long enough to catch a bit of luck.


Since Ponzi-schemer-to-the-stars Kenneth Starr has been outed as a complete shame (not to mention a complete wuss) Wes can get back to the business of making truckloads of cash in this bloodsucking phenomenon:

A federal appeals panel is considering whether the arrest of actor Wesley Snipes’ former financial adviser could pave the way for a new trial on tax evasion charges.

Snipes was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison in 2008, but his attorneys asked the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta to allow a new request to dismiss the movie star’s conviction or grant him a new trial.

The motion centers on the arrest of Kenneth Starr, the one-time financial adviser to Snipes and other celebrities.
He was a key witness in Snipes’ 2008 trial but was charged in May with securities fraud worth $59 million.

Federal panel considers Wesley Snipes’ appeal [AP]

Would the IRS Take the Heisman Trophy as Payment for Back Taxes?

Maybe! But we’ll get back to that in a minute.

There was a fair amount schadenfreude aimed at the University of Southern California when the school was slapped with sanctions a couple weeks back and at Reggie Bush for his role in the whole sitch.

How Bush really feels about it seems to be a mystery since he’s been quoted saying, “[This] is the closest thing to death without dying” but also a less passionate response, “Whatever happens, happens.”

Borderline schizophrenia aside, Fox News reports that Reg might have to pay some back taxes on the estimated $300,000 in luxury gifts he allegedly received:

“If the entire $300,000 is determined to be taxable,” Los Angeles-based CPA Mark Greenberg said, “about 50 percent of that would go to the IRS and Franchise Tax Board. And with penalties and interest, it could go up to 60 percent since it’s going back a few years.”

Greenberg estimates that Bush, now the star running back for the New Orleans Saints, “ultimately will wind up paying about $150,000,” but “it could be up to $200,000” if his financial team can’t get the penalties and interest waived.

We’re sure Bush would never have to give up his trophy a la the Juice since A) he didn’t kill anyone and B) his sponsors are still firmly in his corner, so the money shouldn’t be a problem. That being said, having the IRS snooping around your financial situation is about annoying as a Keeping Up with the Kardashians marathon.

Accounting News Roundup: UBS Deal Back on Track; Allen Stanford’s Circus Causes Problems for Co-Defendants; Zynga Lands $147 Million | 06.15.10

Swiss Parliament Backs UBS Pact [WSJ]
After telling U.S. and IRS to drop dead last week, the lower House of Swiss Parliament has approved the deal to turn over 4,450 names as part of UBS’ settlement involving their assistance to taxpayers in the U.S. evade their obligations through offshore accounts.

There’s one small problem remaining – the lower house wants to put the agreement to a popular referendum while the upper house in parliament is opposed to the idea. The two have until Friday to reconcile their differences, otherwise another vote will be necessary to settle the referendum issue.

The problem with the referendum is that it could take months for happen and it could cause the Swiss to miss the August deadline that it agreed to. This could lead to fresh charges against UBS and further extending a story that pretty much everyone has grown tired of.


Stanford’s Co-Defendants Try to Flee the ‘Circus’ [DealBook]
Stanford’s Chief Investment Officer, Chief Accounting Officer and Controller are all attempting to sever themselves from Al’s proceedings because he’s an absolute drama whore.

Former CIO Laura Pendergest-Holt’s motion to have her trial severed describes RAS’ conduct as ‘egregious and circus-like conduct,’ using the term “circus” at least eight times.

So while a circus is infinitely fun for the rest of us, it doesn’t really do co-conspirators any good when they are trying to get a fair trial.

Dealing With a Toxic Resumé [FINS]
How can you move past a job with a tax company like Stanford, Countrywide, Bear Stearns et al.? You might just want to GIVE UP (and that could be advisable if you were a perp) but there are some things you can do to wash away that taint on your resumé.

For starters don’t bad mouth the old company, even though they probably deserve it. Secondly, you might attach an addendum to your resumé in order to explain the whole sitch and you can always turn the situation into a positive by explaining how you’ve learned from working at such a lousy company.

Keep your chin up, you’ll be back to being a white collar working stiff in no time.

Duke boy dodges tax hazard [Tax Watchdog]
John Schneider, aka Bo Duke, and his wife owe California about $28,000 in back taxes. Turns out his old accountant left him ‘high and dry’ so he’s working it out with Arnie.

Zynga Receives $147 Million Investment From Japan’s Softbank [Bloomberg BusinessWeek]
Memo to Farmville Haters: it’s here to stay and there will be more to come.

No Mr. Wendt, Having Played an Accountant on TV Won’t Help Your Tax Problem

When who played one of the most treasured accountants in television history can’t manage to use his fictional expertise to get themselves out of a tax jam, you have to start asking yourself – what chance do any other future thespians that play accountants have?


Robert Snell over at Tax Watchdog reports that George Wendt owes the state of California $30,000 in taxes, citing public records.

Robert did his usual diligence asking for the celebrity’s point of view and he managed to get Norm’s agent, Arthur Toretzky who was less than thrilled with the inquiry. Here’s a portion of his response to Robert’s email:

Do you reporters get a charge out of writing this stuff? George is one of the nicest guys in the world and you want to embarrass him. I just don’t get it. How this wold [sic] has changed. Good luck with getting whatever information you need, and I hope this at least puts you in contention for a Pulitzer.

Not sure if Robert responded to Artie but on Tax Watchdog it’s pretty clear why this is important:

Every year, about $345 billion in federal taxes are either late or unpaid, according to the IRS, ripping open holes in budgets and shortchanging schools and public safety. That forces taxpayers to cough up more than their fair share, tax experts say.

Unless you don’t think that’s a big deal. Besides, if he had Ted Danson’s business manager maybe this wouldn’t have happened.

Nicolas Cage Must Not Have Heard About the Fiscal Crisis in California

We really thought we had heard the last of Nicolas Cage and his tax problems. The man has eight films at various points in production including the next editions of both the National Treasure and Ghost Rider franchises.

With that kind of cinematic lineup, you’d think the State of California would give him the thumbs up and say, “Oh, it’s cool Nic. Just cut us a check as soon as you have the cash. NO worries.”


Then we remembered that this is California, home to the budget projection experts that misfired on their tax revenues by $3 billion, so you bet your repossessed-mansion ass they’ll take that $3.8 mil.

National Treasure’ actor Nicolas Cage owes another $3.8 million [Tax Watchdog]

Who Wants to Buy John Daly’s House (Sans Kegerator)?

If you feel like nothing in life is ever certain, know this – John Daly will always be a weight fluctuating, chain-smoking, boozehound. And every once in awhile, he’ll have some serious money trouble or just go completely broke.

This is usually followed up with a major win which is then followed up by a total blow-up at the next tournament that may or may not involve Big John ending up passed out pantless on the 18th green in the middle of the night.


The guy has managed to make $9 million throughout his career yet still owes the IRS over a $1 million in back taxes for ’07 and ’08, according to a lien filed with filed by the Service with Shelby County.

His house in Memphis is apparently for sale, for just a smidge under $700k. So if you’re in the market, help the guy out.

Judging by the pics, you’ll have to schlep in your own kegerator and you’ll likely have to replace the carpet due to the ubiquitous cigarette burns but it still looks like a pretty nice pad.

IRS grips, rips golfer John Daly [Tax Watchdog]

Wednesday Addams’ $180,000 Tax Trouble

Go figure, Christina Ricci has been hit with an IRS lien to the tune of $179,568.30 for unpaid 2008 taxes. Though the lien news seems to have taken her quite by surprise, Ricci’s rep told TMZ that she is taking “immediate action to address it in a responsible manner.”

That’s funny, I thought a responsible manner would have meant paying the IRS $179,568.30 before April 15th, 2009 when it was due but maybe that’s just me.


Oddly enough, if you’ve ever been hit with an IRS lien (hello, Nic Cage) you know that the Service doesn’t just one day decide to slap a lien on you without first attempting to give you a hint that the proverbial shit is preparing to hit the fan. Generally this comes in the form of correspondence (lots of it) indicating that there is an issue.

Helpful bunch that they are, the IRS will almost always work with tax delinquents as long as said delinquents return their letters and get in touch to say “Hey, sorry, totally forgot to give you that $180,000 that I owe you.” In the case of Christina Ricci, we’re pretty sure her IRS letters must have gotten lost in the fan mail and creepy stalker packages. Yeah, that must it.

Christina Ricci — Ya Got $179k Layin’ Around? [TMZ]

Would Sarah Palin Consider Helping Pamela Anderson with Her Tax Problem?

When celebrities have tax trouble, the majority of reporting out there feels like schadenfreude. Being of the more helpful mindset (especially when it comes to America’s beloved rich [or not so much] and famous) we try to provide solutions for those celebs down on their luck.

In celeb-tax-trouble du jour, Pam Anderson has been named to the California’s Franchise Tax Board Top 250 Tax Delinquents. She owes the people of California nearly $500k.


Someone equally as famous but without the financial difficulties is former VP candidate Sarah Palin.

We’re not suggesting that SP spread the wealth around but just to help out a real American like herself. What’s $500k between two women that share the uncanny ability to seduce the American psyche? They’re a natural team – both have rabid fans; Pam is currently on a reality show, Sarah’s is in the works. Sarah Palin hates taxes; if Pam didn’t before, she certainly does now.

Sure, SP kills animals while Pam stumps for them but those a small issue like digesting animal flesh or wearing fur can surely be set aside for the good of the country. Plus, it would make for a great Sarah stump speech come 2012.

Pamela Anderson Owes $493,000 in Back Taxes [AP]
See also:
California’s Top 250 Tax Deadbeats [TaxProf]
What Do Pamela Anderson And Tim Geithner Have In Common? [DB]

Fans Help Thomas Hearns Pay Tax Debt By Purchasing Decades-Old, Sweat-Encrusted Items

Thomas Hearns has no doubt seen the embarrassment that some of his fellow celebrity/athletes have suffered as the result of their tax scofflaw ways and decided that he would only suffer minor embarrassment. Hearns made over $40 million during his career but managed to owe back taxes of $448k, not to mention over $500k in overdue mortgage payments.

Rather than drag the proceedings on further, Hearns decided to get proactive on this little obligation and decided to hold an auction of memorabilia and other personal items to satisfy his debt. And since the bulk of Hearns’ career existed when boxing was still somewhat legitimate, these particular items probably still had some semblance of value to collectors/hoarders of random shit.


Items sold included a robe from a bout with Sugar Ray Leonard for $1,100, to trunks, gloves, headgear, ATVs, boat, ’57 Chevy. Pretty much anything that touched Hearns body that had ever been stained by sweat, blood, and any other bodily secretions (and those of his opponents) were auctioned off to satisfy the debt.

Hearns admitted to the Detroit Free Press that this all seems a little ridiculous considering the money he made, “I made a lot of money in boxing. But as a man who had a large family, people looked at you as their savior. You tried to help them by giving. It doesn’t stop. I’m the big brother — I give and I give.”

Ahhh, yes. The free-loading relatives. The types that don’t pay you back for that grip you loaned them for a [insert luxury vehicle of choice]. Should have known. Luckily, true fans of the boxer are more than eager to own funky jock straps to help out the champ.

Thomas Hearns, at auction, rolls with punches [Detroit Free Press]
Boxing legend Thomas Hearns risks losing home [Tax Watchdog]

More Tax Clients for Ludacris (or His CPA)

As you’re no doubt aware, the IRS has taken exception with the notion that many of our favorite celebrities and athletes can do no wrong. As detestable as this thought might be, Doug Shulman and his merry band of tax collectors are not impressed with these pillars of the community turning a blind eye to their patriotic obligations.


Some of the latest examples of celebrity tax avoidance:

Corey Feldman – Technically it’s Corey Feldman Inc. that owes the IRS $31k but same diff.

Faith EvansWidow of Notorious B.I.G. Grammy winner. Soon-to-be reality TV star. The combination of these things somehow doesn’t allow her to scrape together $360k.

Mel Blount – Okay, we have to admit that we don’t know who the hell this guy is but the sports historians and the entire city of Pittsburgh are probably familiar. For everyone else – he’s a former Steelers’ cornerback that was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1989. He owes taxes for every year from 1994 to 2006 (with the exception of ’07) for grand total of $652k. Seriously, this is f—ing ridiculous. Even Nicolas Cage manages to file a tax return once a decade. There’s not one CPA in all of the ‘Burgh that can help this guy?

As the title indicates, our advice to these people is to get in touch with Luda “I pay more in taxes than most people would ever imagine” cris ASAP. Whether he’s mastered TurboTax or managed to find a solid CPA, it doesn’t matter because, as you might recall, “you will never hear about Ludacris owing the damn IRS no damn money.”

Source: Tax Watchdog

A Tax Lien Is a Much More Manageable Problem Than Say, Apologizing to Your Oscar Winning Wife

Since Jesse James’ tax lien is relatively small — $3,918 — you can probably chalk this up to a mistake. However, since the taxes are related to 2007, could it be that it was an oversight? A mistake? Poor judgment?

Poor judgment akin to say, inviting a tattoo model/stripper/rumored white supremacist into your bike shop to cheat on your wife? Is that sort of the same thing?

Tax debt adds to sex scandal for Sandra Bullock beau [Tax Watchdog]

Ludacris Should Be Giving Ving Rhames Tax Advice

In today’s celebrity tax scofflaw du jour, we learn that Ving “Why do people always have to bring up that scene in Pulp Fiction” Rhames owes the IRS over $800k from two liens, both filed by the IRS in Los Angeles.

Rhames has had trubs in the past, having liens filed against him last May as well.

It seems to that California, being in the fiscal trouble that’s it in, really needs to call on its other celebrity residents to hold some sort of Haiti-esque fundraiser for some of their fellow celebs.


Sure, it might not fix all the state’s budget problems but at least we could admire our celebrities for being financially responsible pillars of the community rather than pillars of the community when there’s an international crisis. Plus, maybe California wouldn’t have to fire more teachers.

In semi-related news, you will never, ever, EVER hear about Ludacris owing the IRS a damn thing. Not now, not ever.

“I pay more in taxes than most people would ever imagine. I guarantee you, I’m looking dead in the camera, you will never hear about Ludacris owing the damn IRS no damn money.”

Okay, financial celebrities f-ups, get on the horn and find out what the great financial mind-cum-rapper/actor of Ludacris has in store for you. Things haven’t worked out so far, so it can’t hurt to see what the man has to say.

Ving Rhames far from OK with Uncle Sam [Tax Watchdog]

Nicolas Cage’s Catastrophic Financial Situation May be Coming to End

God willing friends, this may mark the end of the financial tragedy that has plagued our hero for we’renotsurehowlong.

It only took putting homes from every continent, both poles, and a bungalow on the moon all on the market. He got sued by his ex-girlfiend, his former business manager and had more liens slapped on his ass than MC Hammer.

But NC is going to pay $14 million to the Service and he’s free and clear. Done. No more troubles. He’s confident this time. You know why? Because he told People about it:

While the government recently placed a tax lien on his real-estate holdings, including an additional $6.7 million from 2008, “over the course of my career I have paid at least $70 million in taxes, unfortunately, due to a recent legal situation, another approximate $14 million is owed to the IRS,” Cage tells PEOPLE in an exclusive statement. “However, I am under new business management and am happy to say that I am current for 2009, all taxes will be paid including any to be determined state taxes.”

$84 million is all it took friends and now that’s he’s got new business management, nothing like this will ever happen again. Plus, the next edition of the National Treasure franchise appears unstoppable. BACK. IN. THE. GAME.
[via the TaxProf]

Wesley Snipes Doesn’t Want to Deprive the Public of His Art

WesleySnipesR.jpgSo he simply can’t do three ‘unreasonable’ years in prison. Nevermind that he was convicted of “willful failure to file his income tax returns,” the cultural community simply cannot be do without the likes of The Art of War II: The Betrayal.

Snipes was sentenced in April 2008 in what was considered a key victory for prosecutors who aggressively pursued the maximum penalty to deter others from trying to obstruct the IRS. They say he made at least $13.8 million for the years in question and owed $2.7 million in back taxes that he refused to pay.
Snipes apologized at the time, calling himself an idealistic artist who was “unschooled in the science of law and finance.”

The man A) apologized and B) had a good excuse: he is AN ARTIST. He can’t possibly be expected to make heads or tails of this tax law rigamarole, so three years? C’mon. Let it slide 11th Circuit. Besides, vampires are all the rage right now so Blade is bound to get hot again. Just you wait.
Wesley Snipes appeals 3 tax convictions in Georgia [AP]
See also: Wesley Wants to Walk [Tax Update Blog]

Hungarian Actresses Are Not Immune from Tax Troubles

zsazsa.jpgThe last thing you want if you’re a celebrity is money troubles. Whether you’re punching your shiesty accountant, simply spacing your tax liabilites, or just spending too much, it’s downright embarrassing. You’re a celebrity, for crissakes!
What’s worse if you’ve got money trubs because you lost scratch to Bernie Madoff. Sure if you’re Kevin Bacon, you can get by on the Footloose royalties but what about people who seem to be famous for no discernible reason? Unless being a “Hungarian actress” and “socialite” qualify as reasons.


Tax Girl has the details on Zsa Zsa Gabor’s trubs because of Berns:

The 92 year old actress has been liened by the Internal Revenue Service for $118,000 for the years 2001 and 2002; the lien has been filed against one of Gabor’s mansions in California. Gabor’s lawyer, Chris Fields, says that the tax bill is part of the fallout from the Madoff scheme.

Luckily for Zsa Zsa, her ninth husband, Frederic von Anhalt, whored out his own name: “Anhalt has reportedly received millions of dollars by selling the Anhalt name by adopting, along with Zsa Zsa, several men.” There’s no cause for concern, as he’ll be picking up the bill. Celebrity embarrassment has been avoided!
Why FvA gets paid to adopt his own wife and a bunch of dudes isn’t entirely clear. Annnnnd in case that’s not weird enough for you, TG points out that Fred also claimed to be the father of Anna Nicole Smith’s baby. So now an asston of pharmaceuticals are likely relevant in some way. The awesomeness has reached a new level.
It’s a Tax Lien, Dahling [Tax Girl]

Nic Cage Can’t Afford Another Bangkok Dangerous

raising.arizona.073007.jpgNicolas Cage is keeping his reputation as a tax scofflaw intact, as he currently owes the IRS $6.2 million due to a lien the Service slapped on his house in New Orleans. Last September, Cage settled with the Service for the diabolical sum of $666,000 after he improperly deducted $3.3 million in personal expenses, including must-haves like limo service and a Gulfstream.
Our advice to Cage would be to seriously consider going full frontal in his next film, Bad Lieutenant, Port of New Orleans. If not out of pure artistic principal and respect for the original version, do it for the extra scratch, man. A johnson shot has got to be worth, what, a couple mil?
Nicolas Cage Hit with $6.2 Million Tax Lien [Web CPA]

Foxy Brown and Toni Braxton Hate Paying Taxes: Just Like the Rest of Us!

foxybrown.jpgtoni-braxton-b.jpgBeing a celebrity is tough. You see all that money roll in and then when you find out you have to pay almost 50% in taxes on it, that might just piss you off a little. It pisses off some celebrities enough that they just decide they’re not paying Uncle Sam jack. Then there are those that just forget to pay (*cough* Willie Nelson *cough*).

The two newest members of the tardy tax payers are hip-hop artist Foxy Brown and R&B singer Toni Braxton. Brown owes the IRS $641,558 in back taxes for the years 2003 to 2006. Braxton owes just over $71k to the IRS but she’s got some history of financial trubs: she filed for bankruptcy in 1998 with over $1 mil in debts so she’s probably familiar with the collection-type protocols.

Our advice to the two ladies would be take the Lehman Brothers approach on this and get some of that Foxy Brown and Toni Braxton schwag on eBay.

Foxy Brown’s prison jumpsuit from Riker’s? Toni Braxton’s Grammy trophies (or maybe just the underwear-is-optional dress)? We want to hear what kind of mementos you readers would be willing to plunk down your hard earned cash for to help these ladies out.

Foxy Brown, Toni Braxton In Tax Trouble [AllHipHop.com via TaxProf Blog]