It's Tax Time! Well to be honest, every day of the year is tax time, according to the Government. Since that is what they want you to keep in mind at all times of the year as you are slaving away and giving up your life strength and energy in return for a paycheck, whether as an employee or a business owner. And just a reminder, Tax Freedom Day, usually comes at the end of April each year, and in the future it may arrive during the month of May or June, depending on how much they decide to raise your income tax to pay for their wars. But for now, you have to work the first 4 months out of the year for free for the Government, the one you elected to work for you, before you can keep any monies for yourself. Think about that!
And since the IRS has placed great fears into your heart and the heart of your fellow citizens, by having the power to seize your home, your assets, your paychecks, your bank account balances and even your retirement, then you better know how to tow the line. In other words, you better pay your taxes, and no funny business. Also just in case you forget just how much power the IRS has in dealing with tax evaders, tax frauders, tax cheaters, or just other people who refuse to tow the line and give up to half of what they make to the Government, then they quickly remind you of what can happen to you by making examples of the rich, the powerful, the criminals, the celebrities and anyone else who thinks that he or she is above the law.
So with that said, this is why today I am sharing with you these 9 Income Tax Crimes Committed By Famous People, just so you could be reminded by the IRS that if those people can go to jail and fined heavily for not paying their taxes, then you can imagine just what they will do to you.
1. Al Capone
Al Capone is likely the most notorious tax evader in history. Although well-known as the king of Chicago gangsters, the federal government couldn't put together any criminal charges that would stick until they nailed Capone for failing to pay taxes. In 1931, the gangster was convicted of five counts of income tax evasion and sentenced to 11 years in prison.
2. Wesley Snipes
Actor Wesley Snipes was convicted in 2008 on three counts of failing to file a tax return. After losing his appeal, he was sentenced to three years in prison. Snipes' defense asserted that a rising tide of Americans feel they are constitutionally protected from paying taxes. Clearly, U.S. courts feel differently.
3. Dennis Kozlowski
Dennis Kozlowski was the chief executive officer of Tyco, International in the late 1990s during the heady days of the raging stock market. Like many of his peers at the time, Kozlowski flaunted his wealth, but his failure to pay taxes on 12 paintings from masters such as Claude Monet resulted in an indictment for tax evasion. After settling his tax bill, Kozlowski promptly headed to prison after he and an associate were convicted of stealing more than $600 million from his company.
4. Leona Helmsley
In the 1980s, billionaire hotel operator and real estate investor Leona Helmsley was dubbed "The Queen of Mean" for her attitude towards others. A former housekeeper claimed that Helmsley once said, "We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes." Attorney Rudy Giuliani was able to convict her in a 1989 tax evasion trial, after which Helmsley spent 18 months in federal prison.
5. Pete Rose
One of the most controversial figures in baseball history for his admitted gambling habit, Pete Rose ran afoul of the IRS in the early 1990s. After pleading guilty to filing two false income tax returns, Rose spent six months in jail between 1990 and 1991. Rose's crime included failing to report income generated from memorabilia and autograph sales.
6. Willie Nelson
In the late 1980s, the IRS investigated singer Willie Nelson for a bogus tax shelter that was ultimately disallowed, triggering a staggering $16.7 million tax bill. Although the amount was later reduced to $6 million by his attorney, Nelson still couldn't make payments to the satisfaction of the IRS, which raided Nelson's home and seized nearly all of his property in 1990.
As part of a later negotiation, the IRS agreed to an unusual revenue-sharing agreement with Nelson in which part of the proceeds of a new album would help pay down his tax bill.
7. Sophia Loren
Sometimes, star power can outshine a person's legal transgressions. Perhaps there's no greater case in point than actress Sophia Loren, widely regarded as one of the most beautiful women of all time, and one of the most awarded actresses in movie history to boot. While it is rarely discussed these days, Loren served 18 days in jail for a tax evasion conviction back in 1982.
8. Heidi Fleiss
Heidi Fleiss rose to fame in the 1990s after a high-profile bust for running a prostitution ring for wealthy individuals. However, the woman known as the "Hollywood Madam" was tried not just for her salacious occupation but also for income tax evasion and money laundering. In addition to paying back taxes and fines, she was handed a 37-month prison sentence in 1996.
9. John Gotti
Know as “The Teflon Don” for his ability to escape prosecution for numerous alleged crimes, John Gotti finally met his match when he was convicted and sent to prison in 1992. As with noted gangster Al Capone, Gotti was nabbed for tax fraud after he failed to file tax returns from 1984 through 1989.
However, unlike Capone, Gotti was also convicted on numerous other criminal counts, including murder, conspiracy, racketeering and obstruction of justice. The net result was a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
10. Lauryn Hill
11. Martha Stewart:
She may be a home and garden guru, but she's also a convicted tax evader. Before doing jail time for insider trading, Stewart was forced to pay $220,000 in back taxes and penalties to the State of New York, learning the hard way that East Hampton mansions also generate taxes. Her claim that she hardly spent time there didn't reduce her burden, or appease the state of New York.
12. Darryl Strawberry
Mets and Yankees, Strawberry led them both to World Series titles, but like Pete Rose, he stumbled when it came to claiming taxable income. Both can likely recite their stats for every season played, but neither was very good at recalling income from autograph and memorabilia shows. After years of signing away without paying taxes, both received tax evasion convictions. The lesson? If you earn money from it, so should Uncle Sam.
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