Skier Lindsey Vonn's Tax Problems Snowball

By Ken Berry
 
Renowned skier Lindsey Vonn wasn't able to clear one hurdle that all taxpayers face. According to a news report, Vonn owes more than $1.7 million in taxes from 2010, a staggering total. The two-time Olympic champion said on her Facebook account that she wasn't aware of the problem until recently.
 
Public records in the Elko County recorder's office in Nevada show that the IRS imposed a tax lien against Vonn earlier this month. The Detroit News was the first to report the action. In an e-mail to the newspaper, Vonn said, "It is no secret that my last year off the mountain has been filled with many personal challenges. This matter was only recently brought to my attention and I took immediate and deliberate steps to remedy the situation. I have made arrangements to pay in full the balance due."
 
Talking Points
  • The failure-to-pay penalty is equal to .5 percent of the total taxes owed.
  • The maximum failure-to-pay penalty is 25 percent.
  • The IRS will issue an intent to levy if the taxpayer doesn't cooperate.
  • If a tax liability remains unpaid ten days after the IRS has issued an intent to levy, the failure-to-pay penalty increases to 1 percent per month on the unpaid tax balance.
The tax lien follows close on the heels of other personal tribulations for Vonn. Last year, she separated from her husband of four years, Thomas Vonn, who also served as her coach. Professionally, however, the skier has been on the top of her game. She captured the overall title this past season with a record-high for female skiers of 1,980 points. Vonn ended up with the downhill, super-G, and combined titles. She has won fifty-three World Cups during her outstanding career, the third most in history for females.
 
No one is exempt from the reach of the IRS. If a taxpayer doesn't pay the requisite amount of tax on time, the IRS can charge a penalty equal to .5 percent of the total taxes owed up to a maximum 25 percent per month. The IRS will issue an intent to levy if the taxpayer doesn't cooperate. If a tax liability remains unpaid ten days after the IRS has issued an intent to levy, the penalty increases to 1 percent per month on the unpaid tax balance. That's what happened in Vonn's case.
 
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