Celebrities often get preferential treatment, but that doesn’t apply with the IRS. When you make money, you’re going to get taxed one way or another and even an army of accountants and tax professionals couldn’t save these 7 celebrities from the taxman.
Before we jump into it, if you or someone you know needs help with their back tax problem, contact us to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation and let’s get your tax issue resolved.
#1 Floyd Mayweather Jr. $29.4 million back tax debt
According to IRS tax liens filed against Floyd Mayweather, the superstar boxer owes $7.2 million for 2010 and another $22.2 million for 2015 in back taxes.
It’s the latest IRS fight for Mayweather, who paid $15.5 million in taxes for 2001, 2003-2007 and 2009 only after the IRS filed liens against him in those cases, according to documents filed to the Clark County Recorder in Las Vegas.
#2 Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne
$1.7 million back taxes
The IRS filed a $1.7 million lien for taxes the celebrity couple did not pay in 2008 and 2009.
She fired off on Twitter to explain: “You can’t rely on anyone but yourself. You have to be on top of your own business affairs. My fault. Lesson learned.”
#3 Willie Nelson
$16.7 million back taxes
What do you do if you owe the IRS $16.7 million in back taxes? Well, if you’re Willie Nelson, you just make an album and use the money from that to pay your bill.
After the IRS hit the Country music star with a bill for $16.7 million in unpaid back taxes, he quickly released an album titled “The IRS Tapes: Who Will Buy My Memories?” By 1993, Nelson was able to pay his back taxes.
#4 Nicolas Cage
$6.3 million back tax debt
Nicolas Cage was once a top earner in Hollywood, worth $150 million.
But Cage didn’t hold on to his fortune for long. He squandered it away on a string of expensive and often eccentric purchases, eventually facing foreclosure on several properties and owing the IRS $6.3 million in back taxes
The IRS hit the actor with a federal tax lien in 2009, accusing the star of failing to pay more than $6 million in income tax two years prior. Cage was also hit with a second lien that accused him of cheating his way out of $350,000 in taxes between 2002 and 2004.
Cage was then slapped with a lawsuit from Red Curb Investments in 2009, alleging he committed fraud by not disclosing he was in debt to the IRS when they agreed to a $3.5 million loan for a real estate deal in 2007.
On the flip side, he spent $10 million buying 2 castles in Europe, $3 million buying an island in the Bahamas, $150,000 on a pet octopus, and briefly owned a dinosaur skill he had paid $276,000 for. $6.3 million in back taxes sounds a lot less exciting than a dinosaur skill though. Poor Nicolas Cage.
#5 Chris Tucker
$14 million back tax debt
In a Netflix stand up comedy bit Chris Tucker said “Take care of your business man, be careful who you listen to. That’s the last time I let Wesley Snipes help me out with my taxes! Almost got both of our asses locked up.”
Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZpR1i8dBFw
More on Wesley Snipes own tax issues below, but the Rush Hour movie star and comedian has been in an out of tax trouble for a few years, reportedly stacking upwards of $14 million in back tax debt.
“You gotta be able to fill out a 1099. You gotta help me out with my taxes. You gotta have an accounting degree to be with me.”
#6 Wesley Snipes
$23.5 million back tax debt
Forbes reported in 2018 that after years of IRS troubles, Wesley Snipes continued his battle, and unfortunately not doing so well. To wipe out $23.5 million in back taxes, he offered a fraction, about $842,000 but the IRS said no.
During 1999 through 2001, Snipes avoided $7 million in taxes by listening to an accountant and anti-tax advocate who claimed you did not legally have to pay taxes.
In 2008, Snipes was convicted of three misdemeanor counts of failing to file tax returns. He got jail time, reporting to McKean Federal Correctional Institution on December 9, 2010. He finished at an adjacent minimum security Club Fed, and was released in April 2013.
But despite all the back and forth, Wesley Snipes continues to struggle with back taxes.
#7 Robert Downey Jr
$2 million back tax debt
Before getting clean during the 1980’s and 1990’s, actor Robert Downey Jr. fell more than $2 million behind on state and federal income taxes according to tax liens filed against him.. After getting clean, the star of Iron Man and other blockbusters paid off the debts.