The Tax 'Miseducation' of Lauryn Hill

By Ken Berry

Singer and actress Lauryn Hill, who captured five Grammy awards for her critically acclaimed 1998 album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, has been charged with failing to pay taxes on income totaling $1.8 million. According to the US Attorney's office, Hill didn't file tax returns with the IRS for the three-year period covering 2005, 2006, and 2007.
 
The New Jersey native has been known for her reclusive, and sometimes erratic and confrontational, behavior ever since she first rose to fame as a member of the Fugees hip-hop group. She eventually settled a contentious lawsuit in 2001 after four musicians accused her of cheating them out of production credits on her breakout Grammy award-winning album. After reuniting with the Fugees in 2005, the tour was cut short when Hill abruptly departed without offering any explanation.
 
But Hill recently resurfaced in the limelight. In April, she played before a sellout crowd in London. Just last week, her performance at a New York City ballroom and a surprise appearance the Hot 97 Summer Jam concert at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, garnered rave reviews.
 

Hill's Side of the Story

The New York Daily News reported that Hill claims she went "underground" for her family's "safety and survival," but she intended to pay the IRS.

Hill's primary source of income for the three tax years in question stems from royalties from four recording and film corporations she owns: Creations Music Inc., Boogie Tours Inc., L.H. Productions 2001 Inc., and Studio 22 Inc.
 
There's been no outward indication that Hill is in financial trouble. She lives quietly in South Orange, New Jersey, and has six children, including five with Rohan Marley, son of reggae legend Bob Marley. No liens have been filed against her.
 
Hill is now scheduled to appear before a US magistrate judge in federal court in Newark, New Jersey, on June 29. If found guilty, she faces up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
 
Related articles:
 

You may like these other stories...

The IRS cautions freelancers and other self-employed individuals to stay on top of the deadlines for filing federal tax returns and the due dates for making payments. Miss just one, says the IRS, and it might exact a sizable...
Bipartisan Cooperation on Tax Refund FraudAs noted in Politico, Senators Wyden and Hatch have introduced a tax refund fraud bill. According to a summary from Senator Hatch's office, the bill would enhance "the...
Camp Hopes Estate Tax Will Be on Its Way OutAn article in Bloomberg said that Republicans are considering voting this year to repeal the U.S. estate tax, according to House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R.-Mich.). He...

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Aug 5
This webcast will focus on accounting and disclosure policies for various types of consolidations and business combinations.
Aug 20
In this session we'll review best practices for how to generate interest in your firm’s services.
Aug 21
Meet budgets and client expectations using project management skills geared toward the unique challenges faced by CPAs. Kristen Rampe will share how knowing the keys to structuring and executing a successful project can make the difference between success and repeated failures.
Aug 28
Excel spreadsheets are often akin to the American Wild West, where users can input anything they want into any worksheet cell. Excel's Data Validation feature allows you to restrict user inputs to selected choices, but there are many nuances to the feature that often trip users up.