There are three things that tend to get people down this time of year. One is the fact that the holidays are done, all the pretty decorations are gone, the hustle and bustle over, it’s a huge mental and physical crash, if also something of a relief. The second is that seasonal affective disorder (SAD) starts to seriously kick in right now in the darkest, coldest part of the winter. And the third, and possibly the most dreaded, is the unstoppable advent of tax time.
It’s the time when all the little people are honoring their New Year’s resolutions to lose weight in part by slicing off the pound of flesh their never satiated government demands. The saying goes that the only certainties in life are death and taxes, but is this really true? Elvis and certain viruses seem to disprove the former, and the following list seriously calls into question the latter, at least for some of the more equal entities in our culture of equality.
So in the spirit of the season, here’s a look at some recent high-profile celebrity tax evaders.. Keep them in mind while filling out that 1040 or the check for your accountant and Uncle Sam.
Ty Warner, Beanie Baby Tycoon
Yes, the man responsible for one of the most unlikely of American fads, listed by Forbes magazine as #209 on the list of richest Americans with an estimated net worth of $2.6 billion, forgot to report over $24 million deposited in Swiss accounts and failed to pay $5.6 million in taxes. The 69 year-old Warner recently plead guilty in federal court and was sentenced to two years of probation, civil penalties of over $53 million and 500 hours of community service, with no time in jail.
Lauryn Hill, R&B Diva
The Grammy winner and mother of six was found guilty of failing to file taxes on over $2 million in earnings over five years for a back tax total of $970,000. She was sentenced to three months in a federal prison and paid back the entire amount of taxes owed. She was originally facing over two years in jail but was granted leniency because of her children.
Mary Estelle Curran, Socialite
You’ve probably never heard of Ms. Curran but she’s apparently well known in elite social circles in Florida. The 79 year-old Curran plead guilty to hiding over $40 million dollars in several offshore accounts to avoid taxes and was facing more than three years in federal prison. However she was granted leniency because her deceased husband had actually opened the accounts and she had tried to take advantage of an amnesty program. She didn’t serve any jail time but did pay $21.6 million in fines and back taxes.
Marc Anthony, J Lo’s Husband
The IRS found that the Latin crooner and husband of Jennifer Lopez had failed to pay taxes for several years and owed a total of over $3.5 million in back taxes. The singer faced multi-million dollar liens on properties in Long Island. Anthony claimed that bad management by his financial advisors was the cause of the oversight.