Monday, July 9, 2012

Top 5 Celebrity Tax Debts


Celebrities are in the public eye all the time. They even have a devoted group of people who try to take photos of them in compromising positions just to prove they're not perfect and bulletproof. There's also another eye that these people are scrutinized under: Uncle Sam's. These are the top five highest tax debts I could find that are celebrities.

5.Marc Anthony
I don't know which thing Marc Anthony is more famous for: being a top-selling international salsa artist, or being the ex-husband of Jennifer Lopez for a second time. Regardless, he owed a staggering total of $5.9 million dollars. This was not all one lump sum, but was compiled from a $1.8 million dollar bill held against his home in N.Y. From the state, a separate bill from the Internal Revenue Service for the same property at $1.6 million, and finally the $2.5 million he owed 5 years ago for back taxes from not filing income tax returns.

The multi-platinum artist who's most successful album Illmatic is ranked 129 in the overall greatest album chart can also rank high in owing unpaid taxes. The artist owes $6 million and because he was unable to pay the debt, the IRS garnishes his wages. Every album that you buy of his now will go towards that debt. That would really lower my drive to put out new music, but how else do you pay it off? It would take a long time for sure working at a fast food restaurant.

3.Nicolas Cage
Regardless of if you think Nicolas Cage is a good actor or not, his numbers do not lie. He has grossed over $2 billion dollars from his movies. That much money I would say is worth Sorcerer's Apprentice and Ghost Rider and every other bad movie he's done, since even those are still successful. He should have paid his taxes though, unfortunately. His debt with the I.R.S. from not paying his taxes became a ginormous $13 million dollars. This was paid back by auctioning “a few” of his homes. I'm sure he's not that worried, since he had about 15 before some were auctioned off. I sure wish I could say, “Ohh, I owe $13 million dollars in taxes? Here, just auction off a few of my homes, and keep the change...”

2.Willie Nelson
This country singer who has written more than 2,500 songs and released close to 300 albums. That's quite a lengthy resume, and when his 1990 tax troubles were brought out into light, they shined to the tune of $16.7 million dollars! He allegedly settled for $6 million but never paid the amount. This caused all his possessions to be put into auctions. He later sued Price Waterhouse, claiming that they put his tax money in illegal tax shelters. This lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed amount. One possession he hid until his tax debt was settled in 1993 was his signature-covered original Martin N-20 Classical Guitar which he named Trigger. 

1.Wesley Snipes
Wesley Snipes, as of December 9, 2010, the vampire hunter, Blade, will be serving 3 years in the McKean Federal Correctional Instition. His charge was failure to file federal income taxes for 3 years. The reason I see him as the one paying the biggest debt is not because of the amount he owes the government(which through my research I have found that no one really knows but Uncle Sam.) I have chosen him because he is serving time. No amount of money can compensate for time, because even though money can be earned and collected again, time is never refunded. It is a grim reminder that the ever-ticking clock is the worst punishment anyone can be dealt, because all the money in the world will never give this man his 3 years back with his family, friends and career. I wish the best for Mr. Snipes and his family.

All these people have been dealt a blow by the I.R.S. and our government. Their fame didn't save them, and they had to pay like normal citizens. Never forget that we should pay our taxes, no matter how much it pains us, even though it may not seem fair or just to us. Be sure to make certain your taxes are taken care of and in good hands, because when it comes down to it, you'll have to answer for your own tax debt.

When you file your online tax return, make sure it is with a reputable company, like We make it easy to file taxes online and look forward to helping you e-file your income taxes! Leave a comment if you know of any other celebrities with bigger tax debts or just want to give your opinion. Thanks for reading!

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  1. I never knew that there were so many top level celebrities in tax debt. I have heard of Nicholas Cage's battle with the IRS resulted in him having to sell his castle. Is there a special tax debt relief program focused towards larger profile accounts, like some of these celebrities? This is a very interesting post. Thank you for giving me great topic conversations for the lunch room.

    1. NP, Giana! Thank you for your comment. I'm sure there is a special program or branch of the IRS that deals with these "high profile" cases. I'll have to do some research, but the idea has the potential to be an interesting post!