Rich, Famous, and Behind on Their Taxes: 10 Biggest Celeb Tax Cheats
Another day, another rich person who has failed to pay their taxes. It seems that the wealthy—no matter how much money they have earned in their careers—are always finding themselves behind when it comes to properly filing taxes. Yes, we know that it can be daunting to log onto TurboTax when you could be getting bottle service at a hot club or buying a medieval castle, but frankly it’s a bit baffling when someone has so much money, that they can be so irresponsible.
Just yesterday, news broke that legendary R&B singer Mary J. Blige, who has always lived a life of excess, mansions, and high fashion, owes a staggering $3.4 million to the state of New Jersey—in addition to $900,000 she already owes! She obviously isn’t the first wealthy star in hot water. Read on to find out others who are notorious tax offenders despite their big bank accounts!
1. Martha Stewart: Okay, so she’s been in prison for insider trading, but that certainly didn’t stunt her massive net worth. However, before that, she’d also been in trouble with the tax man after not shelling out $220,000 to New York state. Her excuse? She didn’t spend a lot of time at that particular mansion, so it slipped her mind. Sigh. That’s a one percent problem if we’ve ever heard one.
2. Nicolas Cage: Once one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood, Nicolas Cage knew how to spend—and spend big. Once worth upwards of $150 million, Cage has a serious love of real estate, and famously owned upwards of 10 homes including a 24,000 square foot manor in Middletown, Rhode Island, and an actual castle in Bath England, which he bought for $7.74 million. Three years later, he sold it at a $3 million loss. In 2010, it was said he owed a staggering $14 million to the IRS. Luckily for him, he’s managed to pay a big chunk of it back—and somehow continues to be in a lot of movies.
3. Leona Helmsley: The notorious Leona Helmsley, known to many as the Queen of Mean, was a 1980s icon who married wealthy hotelier Harry Helmsley. She had an obsession with perfection and frequently abusing staff, but what she loved more than anything was not paying taxes. It caught up with her in 1989 when she was charged with 235 counts of tax evasion. She was fined $7.1 million and served 18 months in prison. One of her most famous lines, which she allegedly said to her housekeeper, was, “We don’t pay taxes, only the little people pay taxes.” Clearly, she isn’t the only one who felt this way!
4. Lindsay Lohan: Given LiLo’s frequent legal troubles, it’s no surprise that she’s racked up some serious back taxes as well. She owes the government $93,701.57 from 2009, $140,203.30 from 2010, and $56,717.90 from 2011. Luckily for Lohan, her generous friend Charlie Sheen forked over $100,000 to help her out. That’s what friends are for!
5. Christie Brinkley: Hamptons fixture and modeling industry icon Brinkley may have a real estate portfolio worth millions and tons in the bank, but she found herself in hot water in late 2011 when it was revealed she owed the IRS $500,000 in back taxes. Luckily for Brinkley, she paid it off almost immediately, citing that she wasn’t paying close enough attention. Being that beautiful and that rich is probably quite distracting!
6. Martin Scorsese: Scorsese has a pristine reputation—from his excellent films to high profile friends—but in 2011 the IRS came knocking on his door for a $2.85 million tax bill. Luckily for him, it was the result of some bad financial management in the form of Kenneth Starr, a financial adviser who was convicted of running a $33 million Ponzi scheme. Lesson learned? Be careful about who you let near your millions!
7. Dionne Warwick: Being a legend doesn’t make you above the law, as Dionne Warwick learned earlier this week. The singer, who has sold over 100 million records, owes a whopping $10.2 million to the IRS. We’re saying a little prayer!
8. Lauryn Hill: Although she was one of the most promising singers of the 1990s, Hill seemingly fell off the face of the earth and only resurfaced when it was revealed that she owed taxes on over $2 million in earnings. She will begin a 3 month prison term on July 8.
9. Lionel Richie: He’s a musical icon and his daughter is Nicole Richie, but he’s also a delinquent taxpayer, owning $1.1 million to the federal government for taxes he failed to pay in 2010.
10. The Osbourne Family: Although they are one of the wealthiest families in the industry, in 2011 they owed just over $2 million in backtaxes. Sharon took the blame, stating she had been “too busy” to meet with their accountant.
What do you think of celebrities who are delinquent when it comes to paying their taxes? Share your thoughts in the comments below!