Kirstie Alley’s Taxes and Other Celebrity Tax Scandals
Categories: Entertainment, Featured
The rich and famous who’ve avoided the taxman, at their own peril
Who pays taxes and who doesn’t? It’s a question that seems to occupy our country, what with people debating President Obama’s proposed Buffet Tax and Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan. But if who should pay more taxes is a question up for debate, here are some people who definitely didn’t pay their fair share.
The IRS consistently goes after celebs for unpaid taxes, in the hope that they might serve as a cautionary tale to us regular folks. Celebrity travails, the theory goes, will scare us into paying our taxes. At the very least it injects a little variety into the usual tabloid fodder. The following celebrities are some of the most notorious in recent memory who have run afoul of the taxman.
For once Kirstie Alley’s taxes are a bigger problem than her weight
The former Fat Actress has been in the headlines lately for the fashion week debut of her new svelte size. But earlier this year it was the Dancing with the Stars runner-up’s tax troubles that were splashed over the news. According to Pinellas County, Florida, Kirstie Alley owed taxes of $41,395 on her $1.73 million Tampa mansion. Alley called the delinquency a mistake and has made arrangements to pay.
Unlike his girls gone wild, Joe Francis gets busted
The innovative American pioneer who managed to turn girls with low self-esteem and aspiring starlets into Girls Gone Wild can’t seem to escape his money problems. Now in the hole for $2 million of gambling debt, Joe Francis also got busted for tax evasion in 2007. He allegedly claimed over $20 million in false deductions for his business but managed to plead guilty to two lesser misdemeanor charges. This past year, however, he again ran afoul of the IRS as it filed a lien against his company for over $100,000 in unpaid taxes. How disappointing for such an upstanding citizen!
Vampire hunter Wesley Snipes Jailed
Blade, the human-vampire hybrid he became famous for playing may protect humans from vampires, but in the real world actor Wesley Snipes couldn’t defend himself from federal tax evasion charges. He is currently serving a three year sentence in jail and must pay $17 million in back taxes, penalties, and interest. Snipes made a series of unorthodox arguments, even claiming the IRS wasn’t a legal government authority. This might have endeared him to the anti-tax absolutists but Blade’s glaive would have made for a better defense. Unsurprisingly, Snipes found support in a Libertarian Party newsletter which justified his actions with the all-caps claim, “THE TAX IS TOO DAMN HIGH.”
O. J. Simpson’s court case not the end of his legal woes
Of all the crimes and alleged crimes for which The Juice is infamous, tax evasion is not high on the list. But the former football star did make California’s tax shame list thanks to the fact that he owes the state that has been so kind to him $1.44 million. Heavily indebted California could use every tax dollar it can get its hands on, but unfortunately it won’t be able to collect in this case. Simpson’s last court case resulted in a 33 year Nevada prison sentence for kidnapping and armed robbery. He won’t be visiting the Golden State for a long while.
Helio managed to dance his way out of tax evasion charges
Brazilian race car driver and champion of Dancing with the Stars Helio Castroneves is the rare man who got away from the IRS. In 2009 a jury acquitted him of tax evasion charges and was hung on one count of conspiracy. He was accused, along with his sister and his lawyer, of keeping $2.3 million from the IRS. Now he can get back to that great American tradition at which he so excels: racing cars really, really fast.
Val Kilmer finally got rid of his New Mexico ranch, and hopefully his tax problems too
Val Kilmer got some good news recently when he finally sold his 5,000 acre New Mexico ranch for $18.5 million after it spent two years on the market. He can put this money to good use paying off his back taxes. The IRS files tax liens against him in 2009 and late 2010 for around $500,000 in unpaid taxes. The most recent lien was for taxes on the very ranch he was trying to sell.
After Richard Hatch’s two stints in jail, he still owes twice as much as he won
The infamous Survivor snake, the gold standard by which all other reality TV villains are judged, fell from grace soon after his victory in the ground breaking game show. Richard Hatch may have won the $1 million prize – but he failed to pay taxes on any of it, resulting in over three years of jail time. When he got out, he violated probation by, you guessed it, failing to file taxes. His punishment? A new nine month sentence and about $2 million in still unpaid taxes and penalties. That’s twice as much as he won!
The IRS needs to know about Marc Anthony’s taxes
The former Mr. Jennifer Lopez got slapped with two tax liens last year to the tune of $3.4 million for unpaid taxes on his Long Island estate. And this wasn’t the first time! In 2007 he owed $2.5 million in unpaid taxes for failing to file for a five year span during which he earned nearly $15.5 million. Maybe that’s why JLo left to dance the night away on the floor without him.
Nicolas Cage’s IRS troubles pick up right where his career left off
Ah Nicolas Cage. There was a time when the Oscar winner was actually considered a legitimate actor, when his split personalities enabled him to hold his own opposite Meryl Streep and Chris Cooper. But then it all changed. He became that guy from National Treasure. His head started popping up in all kinds of weird places. Then he stopped paying taxes. In 2009 he owed the IRS $6.6 million for unpaid taxes from 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2007. Maybe he should never have left Las Vegas…
Timothy Geithner tax scandal proves paying taxes not required to run the IRS
Alas, it’s not just Hollywood celebrities with the tax troubles. As you may remember, after President Obama took office many of his nominees for various positions were derailed or tripped up by revelations that they had failed to pay taxes. None were more infamous, however, than current Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, who failed to pay taxes on his income from the IMF in 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004.
Al Capone’s downfall was a simple matter of accounting
There is at least one instance, however, of tax evasion doing the government a favor. The most famous tax hooky in history, Al Capone was eventually convicted not for the St. Valentine’s Day massacre, or for repeatedly violating Prohibition, but for income tax evasion. So, take note, those of you planning to start a crime syndicate: pay your income taxes. If you don’t, It just might be the thing that gets you.