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Tax Day: 6 Celebrities Who Got In Trouble For Their Taxes
Mo money. Mo tax problems.
Nothing is certain except death and taxes — even when you're famous.
Tuesday is Tax Day, when American taxpayers send what they owe to Uncle Sam. That includes the rich and famous — not that all of them play by the rules. In a time when even our president is refusing to release tax returns, it's little surprise that other notable names won't be fair and square when tax time comes.
Despite making millions of dollars and living lives of luxury, some celebs have run into problems with the IRS in recent years, often owing more than many Americans will make in their lifetimes. But the taxman spares no one, and with the U.S. facing nearly $300 billion in unpaid taxes, even stars have to pay their share — or else pay a price.
Here are six celebrities who have run into tax troubles:
Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino became a household name on the reality show "Jersey Shore," launching spin-offs shows and his own brands. But in 2014, Sorrentino and his brother and manager, Marc Sorrentino, were accused of underreporting their income to the tune of $9 million.
The brothers claimed their celebrity lifestyle, like luxury cars and clothes, were business expenses, and they moved company money into personal accounts. But the government didn't buy it. "The law is absolutely clear: telling the truth to the IRS is not optional," U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said at the time, according to ABC News.
Sorrentino pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion in January 2018 and his brother pleaded guilty to one count of aiding in the preparation of a fraudulent tax return. Their sentencing is scheduled for late April.
DMX's signature bark helped him avoid significant prison time in his tax evasion case.
Authorities alleged that he lived on all cash, failed to file yearly federal returns and evaded taxes since 2010. Simmons plead guilty last December to one count of tax fraud. The rapper faced up to 44 years in prison.
In March 2018, the rapper born Earl Simmons received a one-year sentence (and was ordered to pay $2.29 million in restitution) after his lawyer played DMX's music in court. Attorney Murray Richman argued lyrics to songs like "Slippin''" and "The Convo" shed light on the DMX's feelings and talent.
"It is raw Earl," Richman said. "We are not here or desirous of molding him into what some may want to see; Earl is uniquely him and that is both his beauty of mind and his genius." He added, "It was a salvation of sort to shut out the noise."
DMX was repentant as well.
“I knew that taxes should have been paid,” he told Judge Jed S. Rakoff of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. “I do take responsibility for what I’ve done,” he said, adding: “I guess I didn’t think my sh-t stank.”
Ja Rule's music is full of boasts of his flashy lifestyle, but the rapper wasn't "livin' it up" when he was sentenced for tax evasion in 2011. The rapper born Jeffrey Atkins was accused of failing to pay income taxes on more than $3 million income and was sentenced to 28 months in prison.
He said that he regretted the effects incarceration would have on his family.
"I've got three kids," he told the TV show "Good Day New York." "If there was anything that I regret, I regret that they have to go through this with me, and I'm not going to be there for them."
Add this to long list of troubles in the child star's adult life: Lindsay Lohan reportedly didn't pay taxes on her income. The actress was hit with a tax lien in 2017 for $100,710.55 for the years 2010, 2014 and 2015, People reported.
Believing that her financial team was at fault, Lohan launched an investigation in December 2017 to track down why her taxes weren't paid, sources told The Blast.
From "Blade" to broke? Wesley Snipes was convicted in 2008 on three misdemeanor counts related to failing to file taxes. The movie star was accused of not filing his taxes in 1999, 2000 and 2001, during which he earned $40 million, according to the Los Angeles Times. He blamed his financial advisors and said that he was "fully compliant" in paying what he owed.
Snipes was sentenced to 36 months in prison. In 2015, he sued the IRS to contest the $17.5 million he owed, according to Bloomberg Tax.
Even bombshells have to pay their taxes. The Playboy Playmate-turned-actress was added to California's list of 250 residents with the biggest tax debts, according to state documents in 2010. The "Baywatch" star was hit with a tax lien for $493,144 in unpaid personal income taxes, the records show.
[Photos: Getty Images]