More and more, it seems, celebrities are making themselves at home in the arena of tax troubles. The latest entertainer to spar with the IRS over unpaid taxes is Robin Givens, former wife of heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson.
The 44-year-old actress is being sued by the U.S. Government for what it says is $292,000 in unpaid federal taxes, interest, and penalties dating back to 1996. The formal judgment entered in early May lists 39 separate assessments and involves eight of the years between 1996 and 2007.
Givens – who rose to fame playing the role of Darlene in the sitcom "Head of the Class" in the late eighties and early nineties – is believed to be a resident of Bradenton, Florida, near Tampa. That is the address that appears on the IRS complaint. But media reports list her as a resident of both New York and Florida.
According to the lawsuit, Givens failed to pay $222,000 in federal taxes, and also owes about $70,000 interest and a variety of penalties sought by the IRS. The penalties include: failure to pay, underpayment of estimated tax, and late filing.
Over the years, a long list of state and federal liens have been filed against Givens in New York, Florida, and California. The federal liens might be part of this most recently filed lawsuit by the IRS. There is also evidence that the actress has made payments to settle the liens, since some of them have been released.
Givens is no newcomer to court proceedings. Her marriage to Mike Tyson – which she described on national television as "torture, pure hell, worse than anything I could possibly imagine" - ended after just about one year, in a storm of publicity. Later in 1997 she married her tennis instructor, only to file for divorce the same day. In 2004 she was back in court, sued by an 89-year-old pedestrian whom she hit with her car while he was in a crosswalk.
Her former husband Mike Tyson has also seen the inside of tax dilemmas, only the numbers involved make Givens's troubles pale in comparison. The IRS said that he under-reported his income from the tax years 2000 to 2002, by $8 million. The under-reporting was largely due to the improper deduction of personal travel expenses.