Celebrities Tax Avoidance

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It’s not just big corporate companies and the stingy everyman that get caught avoiding tax; celebrities aren’t as untouchable as they’d like to think! Check out these infamous examples of A-listers hiding from the tax man…

Nicholas Cage

The expressionless actor found himself in trouble in 2009 for unpaid taxes dating back to 2002 to the amount of $13million. Naturally, he blamed everyone else, accusing his ex-manager and accountant for making poor investment choices in real estate and failing to pay his taxes, but his manager claimed the star brought it upon himself due to overspending. To pay off the debt, Cage sold many of his assets, including properties in California, Las Vegas and New Orleans, yachts and a dinosaur skull. He’s expected to make a further three National Treasure films to rake the cash back in.

Al Capone

Despite being a notorious gangster and boss of the Chicago gang linked to the St Valentine’s Day Massacre, Al Capone’s most notable stretch of time in prison was for tax evasion. Following short jail time for contempt of court and concealing deadly weapons, the U.S. Treasury Department was building evidence on the charges and on 16th June 1931, Capone pled guilty to tax evasion and prohibition charges. He then boasted to reporters that he had made a deal for just two-and-a-half years in prison, but the presiding judge soon took the smug look off his face, by informing him he was not bound by any deal. Capone changed his plea to not guilty and, on 24th November 1931, was sentenced to eleven years in federal prison, fined $50,000 and charged $215,000 on back taxes.

Wesley Snipes

Blade couldn’t hide from the IRS when they discovered his much larger income than he had declared. Found guilty of failing to file a tax return and owing the government $17million in back taxes plus penalties and interest, Snipes attempted to avoid prison after paying off a portion of what he owed, but couldn’t escape his fate and, in 2008, was sentenced to three years, which he started serving in December 2010.

Fat Joe

Bronx rapper, Joseph Cartagena, better known as Fat Joe, entered prison in August 2013 to serve his four-month sentence for tax evasions back in 2007 and 2008 – amounting to more than $1million. Having originally faced two years jail time, he received just four months, a $15,000 fine and one-year supervised release, after pleading guilty to the charges. He was released from Miami’s Federal Detention Center on 28th November 2013, just in time for Thanksgiving.

Jimmy Carr

The UK’s very own funny man found himself in deep water after news spread of his paying as little as 1% income tax. In June 2012, it was revealed an offshore tax avoidance scheme was sheltering £3.3million of Carr’s money, and a total of £168million of thousands of wealthy Britons’ money. After being caught out (and facing much criticism from the general public, politicians and Prime Minister, David Cameron), Carr quit the controversial scheme based in Jersey, admitted it was all his fault, and was expected to pay a £500,000 tax bill in January 2014.

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