IRS issues are actually a lot more common than you think.
According to Jackson Hewitt, statistics show that people are more likely than not to run afoul of the taxman. Each year, nearly 30 million taxpayers will receive some sort of penalty from the IRS for failing to file their taxes correctly. As of 2019, more than 20 million people owe taxes to the IRS but cannot pay them. And millions of people, each year, either under-report their taxes or make a math error on their taxes — which, of course, results in more penalties and fees.
If there’s one thing the IRS is going to do, it’s get the money that you owe them!
In this regard, too, celebrities are just like us when it comes to IRS issues. We’ve all heard at least one story of one celebrity who has been slapped with a gobsmackingly large tax bill. And while many of these issues can be resolved with a good attorney and a reasonable proposal to the omnipresent government agency, it can still be distressing when a tax lien comes to your front door.
These 10 celebrities all ran afoul of Uncle Sam at one point or another in their careers. Here’s how it worked out for each one of them.
The former Hot Boy with a $170 million net worth had a $14 million tax bill from the IRS thanks to unpaid taxes. But according to ET Canada, he paid it all off in 2019 thanks to a little help from H to the Izzo — aka Jay-Z.
“There’s people like Jay-Z,” he said. “He helped me when I was really, really, really down. Really, really, really down. Jay don’t want me to tell nobody. That man helped me with my taxes. He’s a real friend, y’all.”
Ms. Lauryn Hill
Ms. Lauryn Hill certainly made her fair share of money as a member of the Fugees, but unfortunately, she infamously failed to pay taxes on her earnings. According to USA Today, she failed to file tax returns between 2005 and 2009, and eventually, the IRS came after her for failing to file her taxes. After she filed them, it was revealed she owed $1 million in taxes and penalties, and she was sentenced to 90 days in prison for tax evasion. Today, though, she’s a free woman who is, presumably, paying her taxes.
Even Beyoncé‘s sister isn’t safe from the over-reaching arm of the IRS.
Back in 2014, The New York Post reported that Solange was slapped with a tax bill for more than $55,000. According to the outlet, Solange failed to pay her taxes from 2010 to 2012.
But she later told Essence that it was all a “misunderstanding,” and she subsequently got the lien removed when she proved she wasn’t a California resident.
He may be one of the richest boxers of all time, but Floyd Mayweather wasn’t always on “The Money Team.” Back in 2017, ESPN revealed that “Money Mayweather” owed more than $22 million to the IRS in back taxes. But Mayweather denied the allegations and revealed he wrote a check for $26 million to the IRS back in 2015, per Forbes.
Mel B of the Spice Girls
The Daily Mail reported that back in 2020, the “America’s Got Talent” judge was in the red to the IRS for more than $2.5 million. Fortunately, though, News24 reported that she was back on her feet after the Spice Girls reunion tour, which gave her the ability to catch up on all her bills — including the tax bill.
Mary J. Blige
We already know that Mary J. Blige had to go on tour just to pay her ex-husband some alimony, but did you know she also had to pay the taxman, too? In 2020, Essence reported that she got slapped with $900,000 in a tax lien from the state of New Jersey. She also racked up more than $1 million in IRS debts, per The Grio, thanks to the alleged scamming ways of her ex-husband, Kendu Isaacs, whom she called a “con artist.” As of this writing, the litigation is still pending.
Though Nelly is a multi-millionaire today, he ran afoul of Uncle Sam at the beginning of his career. In 2016, it was revealed by Fortune that he had more than $2.5 million in unpaid taxes to the IRS, and nearly $150,000 in unpaid taxes to the state of Missouri. After an infamous “Save Nelly” campaign — where fans streamed his music en masse to raise the funds he needed to pay the IRS.
T.I. may be worth $50 million today, but he wasn’t always Mr. Rubber Band Man. In 2018, The Blast revealed that T.I. — and his wife, Tiny — gave up their battle with the IRS, who’d filed three tax liens against the couple totaling more than $6 million. The pair paid their debts and went on with their life.