Nobody Beatz the Tax Man

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By Teresa Ambord

A new wife, a new baby on the way, a multimillion-dollar house in escrow, and reports of back tax bills totaling more than $2.6 million. That's how rapper/producer Swizz Beatz has made news as the year draws close to the end.

Beatz, age thirty-four, was born Kasseem Dean. He and his current wife, Alicia Keys, live a high-priced life. In September, the Grammy award-winning entertainer was named to Forbes Magazine's annual Hip-Hop Cash Kings Top 20 list (according to Forbes, he is the sixteenth highest paid person in hip-hop, having earned $7 million since the beginning of 2012). He and Keys are about to close escrow on the purchase of Eddie Murphy's $12 million mansion in Englewood, California, and they are trying to sell their New York home, listed at $17.95 million. They live the lives of multimillionaires, but taxes . . . well that's another story.

Recent reports in TMZ and other publications say the IRS has filed a lien in the amount of $283,562 relating to 2010 income. The lien was filed with the New York City Registrar. But that's only a small part of the tax puzzle:

  • A tax warrant was filed by the state of New York in October 2012 against him and his former wife (R&B singer Mashonda) for $134,738.
  • In June 2012, an IRS lien was filed with the Rockland County, New York County Clerk for $652,727 (relating to income from 2008).
  • The state of New York filed a tax warrant for $162,300 in 2009 (for 2008 taxes due).
  • In 2008, the IRS filed a lien against Beatz and Mashonda in Rockland County for $556,986 on income earned in 2007.
  • And, on income earned in 2006, the IRS filed an $842,645 lien with the Somerset County, New Jersey County Clerk.

Put it all together and the total bill exceeds $2.6 million. When reports of the mounting tax debt first surfaced, Beatz could not be reached for comment. However, since that time, the entertainer presented reporters at TMZ with documents that prove he paid his 2010 taxes in full. The state of New York says he still owes them about $100,000, but Beatz assured TMZ he is now current on his tax debts.

Beatz may not be good at keeping up with his taxes, but his charitable inclinations were healthy, at least in 2010. He made large tax-deductible contributions to a public elementary school in the South Bronx to improve the lives of students there. In a 2010 interview he told reporters",I just came from the Bronx Charter School for the Arts. I'm in the middle of sponsoring them, funding them, helping to rebuild them. Shout out to them, they got an art auction coming up." 

Beatz started his own record label - Full Surface - when he was twenty-three. He produced for a long list of famous names, including Beyonce, Dr. Dre, DMX, and Chris Brown.

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