There are two guarantees in life; death and taxes and there is really no way to escape either of those. People have tried, but Uncle Sam always gets them in the end. Just like everyone has to pay taxes, anyone could get into serious tax trouble, even celebrity millionaires! In this Celebrity Tax Trouble round up, we’ll look at how one singer is getting charged with tax evasion and how the IRS is going after one singer’s estate.
International popstar Shakira is in more hot water with the Spanish government. The singer has been charged with tax evasion. Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll’s, known as Shakira, tax problems started because of where she was claiming her residency. Shakira claimed she was living in the Bahamas from 2011 through 2014, but Spanish authorities say the singer was residing in Spain. The authorities say this allowed Shakira to forgo paying millions of dollars in taxes. Spanish authorities say Shakira owes more than 14.5 million euros ($16.4 million U.S. dollars) in unpaid taxes and are trying to hold her criminally responsible for the unpaid taxes because she took steps to conceal her residency. Under Spanish law, if you spend at least a half a year and a day in Spain, you are considered a Spanish tax resident and you are subject to tax on all worldwide income.
The IRS is seeking millions of dollars from the Queen of Soul’s estate. Aretha Franklin passed away last year and left behind an estate worth $80 million along with millions of dollars in unpaid taxes. Franklin died without a will, leaving her four sons and the IRS to file documents as interested parties in her estate. Documents obtained by TMZ.com show the IRS is seeking more than $6.3 million in unpaid income taxes for the tax years 2012 through 2018. A large portion of the debt is from 2015, for which the singer allegedly owes more than $2.1 million. Two tax liens have been filed for the tax years 2016 and 2017, and total in nearly half a million dollars. A court hearing on probate matters for the estate has been scheduled for mid-January, but it could take years for the estate to settle with the IRS.
Putting out a blockbuster movie won’t keep you safe from the IRS. Actor Wesley Snipes is learning that lesson the hard way. The actor from Blade submitted a bid to reduce his tax debt by millions of dollars and it was rejected by the U.S. Tax Court. The U.S. Tax Court rejected Snipes appeal of the IRS’s rejection of his offer in compromise. Snipes currently has federal tax liabilities of approximately $23.5 million for five years. In response to the large liability, the IRS has filed a notice of a federal tax lien and issued a notice and demand for payment. Snipes had requested a collection alternative and the tax lien to be withdrawn and offered a cash payment of $842,061, which is less than 4 percent of his total tax liability. Snipes tax troubles began in 2006 when he was indicted on charges of attempting to claim nearly $12 million in fraudulent tax refunds. The actor also did not file any federal income tax returns for several years. Snipes plead not guilty to all the charges and ended up going to court. The IRS testified that Snipes earned almost $40 million in five years and did not file any income tax returns or pay any taxes on that income. Snipes was found guilty of failing to file tax returns but was acquitted of felony federal tax fraud charges. Snipes ended up spending three years in prison.