May 17, 2013
When it comes to income tax, it’s fair to say that nobody relishes paying it. We all feel we work hard for our money and the last thing we want to do is give a portion of it back to a slothful and wasteful government.
But a word of caution to anyone thinking about holding back a little and not giving Uncle Sam his dues: however smart you think you are, and however cleverly you think you can hide various income from the taxman, the IRS has far smarter people on the payroll, and sooner or later they will catch up with you.
If anyone is left in any doubt over this, a quick look at the so-called rich and famous should paint a very obvious picture. After all, these are the people we look up to; these people are the achievers, the successful ones, and they’ve surrounded themselves with managers and accountants. And yet, despite this seeming shield of invulnerability, the IRS – just like the Mounties – always seems to get their man.
Names like Lindsey Lohan and R. Kelly are commonplace in the celebrity train wreck gossip columns, both with high-profile tax ‘issues’ with the IRS among their many other woes. However, there are plenty of far more illustrious and wholesome names who have fallen foul of the IRS.
Just last week multiple Grammy winner Lauryn Hill was convicted of tax evasion and will spend the upcoming months in federal prison, but she is just the most recent in a long line of respected celebrities who have incurred the attention (and wrath) of the IRS.
Hollywood demigod Martin Scorsese had a $2.85 million lien levied against him by the IRS. Champion of green fuels, advocate of marijuana, all-round folk-hero and close friend of President Jimmy Carter, Willie Nelson had all of his belongings (including six houses) seized and auctioned off by the IRS after he failed to pay ‘the man.’ But for the granddaddy of all tax offenders, the Vice President of the United States was even forced to resign from office after (amongst other things) failing to pay taxes. In fact, had Spiro Agnew remained in office the soon-to-happen Watergate scandal would have promoted him to President and leader of the free world.
The moral of these tales is probably ‘suck it up and cut the check to the IRS’, because if even the Vice President got caught, you will too. Another lesson to be learned here is that it’s also a wise move to have someone who knows the tax laws every bit as well as the IRS to be on your side. Whether you’ve already fallen foul of the IRS and need some help, or you simply want to stay on the good side of the taxman, an IRS tax lawyer can be a useful ally.