As 2012 Ends, Celebrities Pay Tax Debts, Sort Of
By Teresa Ambord
The Lindsay Lohan story never ends. To recap, 2012 started for her with two IRS liens. For 2009, she owed about $94,000 and for 2010, another $140,000 roughly. Next came a series of less than flattering – and sometimes less than legal – reports about bad behavior and financial irresponsibility, plus a couple of money-making gigs that paid around $2 million.
After she and Charlie Sheen starred together in Scary Movie 5, Sheen wrote her a check for $100,000. It was a gift, he said, to pay down her tax debt. Next came word that the IRS had seized her bank accounts for nonpayment. Fortunately, Charlie's check wasn't touched, and on December 12 she paid off her 2009 debt and took a bite out of the 2010 bill.
Lohan may not be good at reading financial statements and balancing her checkbook, but she does read celebrity gossip. That's where she learned that her benefactor, Sheen, had told reporters he was annoyed that she hadn't acknowledged the gift, let alone thanked him. "Thanks for the $100k wouldn't hurt," he told them.
Now, to pay off the rest of the tax bill, Lohan isn't without resources.
She made an initial appearance on Bravo's Million Dollar Decorators, a show that does makeovers of celebrity homes, including hers. However, she missed the follow-up show where the made-over home was revealed. She told reporters she was hospitalized after an accident.
"Lindsay was not available for the reveal shoot, but we were still able to capture the outcome, just like we do for many of the reveal episodes. The final reveal will be featured in the last episode of the season on January 8," said a representative.
On New Year's Eve, Prince Haji Abdul Azim, the son of the Sultan of Brunei, flew her to London and put her up in the elegant Dorchester Hotel, along with her mom. According to the New York Daily News, Lohan was paid $100,000 to make the trip and accompany the prince to a lavish party, an amount that would extinguish most of her remaining tax debt. Her behavior is unpredictable, but if she's getting solid tax advice these days, she'll use her recent earnings to square up with the IRS before the next shoe drops.
"Hilariously tiny tax bill"
Actress Kate Backinsale has tax woes too, though not nearly as dramatic as Lohan's. The state of California notified Beckinsale of a small state lien filed against her for $1,052. The bill for was the period from January 1, 2012, to March 31, 2012.
TMZ reporters speculated that the lien is "clearly a clerical oversight by whoever manages her finances." Her representative assured TMZ she owes nothing. TMZ's take on the tax delinquency seemed to dismiss the need to pay your bills as long as you're rich and famous. They said, "It's funny . . . because Kate wipes her nose with more money than that . . . but it goes to show how aggressive California tax collectors are."
Other media sources weren't as amused as TMZ. Examiner.com called Beckinsale's reaction to the size of the tax debt insulting to "Californians who are struggling to pay even smaller tax liens" as well as mocking a "very efficient tax system." California is one of many states suffering serious budget shortfalls. Legislators there are hamstrung by Proposition 13, which makes the state unable to raise property taxes more than 2 percent to cover the gap. As a result, California is getting more aggressive in collecting what's owed, even from the rich and famous.
Twice a year, California publishes a list of the top 500 tax liens that exceed $100,000. Clearly Beckinsale's debt didn't make that cut, so it's a mystery how the news of the delinquency became public knowledge.
Rapper Lil Wayne
While Beckinsale is laughing off her “hilariously tiny tax bill,” rapper Lil Wayne paid off back taxes totaling $7.72 million. Lil Wayne, real name Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., was hit with liens relating to taxes all the way back to 2004 (possibly farther). But the bulk of the money he owed was for 2008 (roughly $3.35 million) and 2009 (about $2.29 million).
Carter spent most of 2010 behind bars on weapons charges. But even while in prison, he was raking in money following the debut of another album entitled I Am Not a Human Being. That’s also when he made the Forbes Top 100 Celebrities list of people making at least $20 million. Carter easily cleared that hurdle with $26 million. After doing his time, another album sold nearly a million copies, and Carter passed Elvis Presley as the male with the most entries on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, with 109 songs.
It wasn’t until the rap artist bought new a luxury home on La Gorce Island in Miami Beach, Florida, that the IRS landed on him with both feet. They promptly slapped liens on his new digs and Carter paid up. Now with all past tax cleared up, the lien has been released and Carter and the taxman are square.
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