Tax evasion is not just for the poor and unfortunate. The past decades have shown us it is also for the rich and famous. Take a peek at these 7 well-known, tax-evading celebrities.
Though he starred as the hero in the movie National Treasure, Nicolas Cage is actually viewed by the IRS as a villain in real life. In 2009, the IRS alleged that Cage owed the IRS approximately $14 million, and charged him with tax evasion. The IRS filed a $6 million tax lien against Cage’s assets, making it difficult for him to sell properties in order to pay the back taxes. Cage blamed his ex-manager and accountant, telling reporters that they led him to make poor investments in bad real estate, and they didn’t pay his taxes. Cage attempted to wipe his slate clean, but only could do so after paying his back taxes and significant IRS fines.
When the American country music singer-songwriter Willie Nelson was charged with tax fraud, CNN called him “the poster boy of tax evasion”. When the IRS sent him a bill for $32 million owed in back taxes in 1990, he went out and made an album called The IRS Tapes: Who’ll Buy My Memories. With the help of album sales, and the restitution he earned from suing his accountant, Nelson eventually made enough money to pay back the IRS.
This famous Wizard of Oz actress was given a $4 million tax bill by the state of New York in 1964. She probably felt “there is no place like home” after the state of New York repossessed her own home in order to pay her back tax debts.
The $2.5 million in back taxes owed from 2007, along with the $3 million owed from 2010, may be the reason that Marc Anthony was able to live so lavishly with ex-wife Jennifer Lopez. The IRS charged Anthony with tax evasion, but he blamed his account managers. Due to many years of choosing to not pay taxes, the IRS did not sympathize with Anthony.
Convicted felon Martha Stewart may be a little too comfortable in that stylish orange jumpsuit. Running one of the largest media empires in the country, you would think that Stewart would know better than to commit tax evasion. At the end of the day, negligence is no excuse and the state of New York forced her to pay $220,000 in back taxes and fines.
You may know him as the leading actor in the Blade movies, but Wesley Snipes was charged in 2008 for failing to file tax returns from 1999-2001. During this time, Snipes reportedly hid $7 million from the IRS. He was sentenced to three years in prison. He served his time at the McKean Federal Correctional Institution in Pennsylvania, where he stayed with approximately 290 white-collar criminals. Snipes was recently released from jail, but he does have to pay up to $17 million in back taxes plus interest and penalties.
Remember this former “American Idol” star? The IRS filed reports stating Studdard and his wife Zuri owed $180,216.73 in federal taxes. Studdard also had a property lien filed against him by the state of Alabama for almost $200,000. Fame and fortune comes with a cost and responsibility.