The stars of Hollywood are just as human as any of us, only with a lot more money than the average red-blooded American. Because of their high earnings and pricey properties, however, they often have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in taxes toward the IRS than most of us do. So, it’s inevitable that some of them have forgotten to pay their dues when necessary.
Here are 5 celebrities who nearly dodged the long arm of the Taxman:
Earning the top spot on our list is country music legend, Willie Nelson. Over the course of the 60’s and 70’s, Nelson became one of the biggest names in rock history. However, that didn’t stop the IRS from catching up with him and dropping a ludicrous bill in his lap for $26.9 million in unpaid taxes, interest fees, and late penalties. The IRS even went so far as to speculate that the country star owed them over $32 million due his accountant, who avoided paying Nelson’s taxes for years on end.
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After sending his prized guitar, “Trigger” away to Hawaii for safe keeping, Nelson was forced to surrender all of his assets. Thankfully, Nelson took the tax bash in strides, releasing an album in 1992, appropriately titled, The IRS Tax Tapes: Who’ll Buy My Memories? He also appeared in a number of TV commercials, one of which advertised tax preparation strategies for H&R Block. These humorous endeavors helped him pay back over $3 million of what he owed. The following year, the IRS settled with Nelson for $9 million, saving the singer from near financial ruin.
Best known for his role in the Rush Hour franchise, Chris Tucker has recently resurfaced after being out of the Hollywood spotlight for many years. Unfortunately, back in 2014, the actor-comedian was hit with a tax lien for $2.5 million for failing to pay more than $12 million to the state of Georgia a few years prior, which he claims was due to poor performance on the part of his account and business management. That brought his total tax debt to just over $14 million. Thankfully, the lien was simply an IRS formality until a settlement was reached for the original $12 million, which Tucker managed to pay off soon after.
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The star of Face/Off (1997), Nicolas Cage is well known for his eccentric spending habits. From a $276,000 dinosaur skull to a $3 million private island in the Bahamas, it seemed no expense was too great for the Cage. Except for his IRS tax bills, of course. In 2009, it was reported that Cage owed nearly $14 million in back taxes for his income, business expenses and multiple properties from 2002-2007. Since then, he’s managed to pay back most of what he owes by selling away his assets, but not without incurring a $6 million tax lien and a hefty amount of IRS penalties.
David “Sinbad” Adkins
Another comedian who seems to have drifted from the spotlight in recent years is David Adkins, better known as “Sinbad”. Since his acting career quieted down in the late 1990’s, it came as a shock to the public in 2009 when he was hit with a bill of $2.3 million from the State of California and an even larger bill of $8.3 million from the IRS. Unfortunately, since the Taxman caught up with him, the second lead in Jingle All The Way (1996) has had to declare bankruptcy twice in order to pay his dues. However, Sinbad kept his spirits high, selling off his 2.5 acre home in order to settle part of his debts.
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One of the most famous families in the world of music, the Osbournes are no strangers to Hollywood drama. As a matter of fact, in 2011, heavy metal mogul, Ozzy and his wife/manager, Sharon were surprised when they received a lien of over $1.7 million in unpaid property taxes on one of their Los Angeles homes for the 2008 and 2009 fiscal years. To add insult to injury, the iconic couple only found out about the sizable bill when their publicist informed them of it after the news had already hit social media. Ozzy and Sharon swiftly settled the issue and paid their bill a few days later, a very wise move on their part.
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