It's just a mistake, says Brooke Shields. Recent press reports said Shields and her husband, Christopher Henchy have joined Nicolas Cage on the list of celebrities who have fallen behind on their taxes. TMZ.com says a federal lien was filed against the couple on December 31 for $4,391 relating to 2004 and $5,932 from 2005. A spokesperson for Shields told reporters at Gossip.com that this is erroneous, and that all taxes were paid in full and on time, but the IRS credited Shields' payments to the wrong account.
For Nicolas Cage, on the other hand, the mistakes were all his own. In 2008 he went toe-to-toe with the IRS and came out claiming a victory after the tax agency agreed to accept about one-third the amount of the less than two million in back taxes they were seeking for the years in question. Unfortunately for Cage, once he caught the attention of the IRS, the agency decided to take a look at his tax returns from other years. The problems they found were far worse than expected. For 2002, 2003, and 2004, he owes $6.3 million in unpaid taxes. As a result, the government has placed liens on his assets - mostly real estate holdings. Just recently another lien was filed for an additional $6.7 million taxes due relating to his 2008 income.
Cage says his error was in trusting a bad business manager - Samuel Levin - who the actor is now suing for $20 million, according to Reuters. Cage is reportedly tired of being perceived as a "deadbeat" and is determined to pay up and shed that image.
"Over the course of my career I have paid at least $70 million in taxes," he told People magazine. "Unfortunately, due to a recent legal situation, another approximate $14 million is owed to the IRS. However, I am under new business management and am happy to say that I am current for 2009," he continued. "All taxes will be paid including any to-be-determined state taxes."
Also being pressed to pay up is Argentina's well known soccer star-turned coach, Diego Armando Maradona. A few months ago, while he was visiting a fat farm in the northern Italy city of Merano, police seized a diamond earring from him - valued at $5,900 -- in partial payment of his Italian tax bill of $54 million. That massive tax debt goes back to when he played soccer for Napoli, in 1984-1991.
This is not the first time Maradona has had personal property seized to help settle his tax debt. In 2006 while he was visiting a suburb of Naples, tax police seized two Rolex watches, as well as the payment he earned for an appearance on Italian state TV.
The confiscated earring was purchased by an unidentified woman for the equivalent of $36,400 US dollars, at an auction held at the Bolzano Hotel in Italy. The auction's organizer, Giovanni Lombardo, told reporters that the money raised was a "drop in the bucket" compared to Maradona's debt. But even one drop at a time, this is a reminder to everyone that, just like the rest of us, celebrities do not get to skip out on their tax bills.