By Ken Berry
According to a new report, former Baywatch star and Playboy icon Pamela Anderson owes the state of California over a half million dollars in back taxes. Another prominent state tax scofflaw is Joe Francis, founder of the "Girls Gone Wild" videos, who is on the hook for more than three quarters of a million dollars.
Anderson and Francis are two of the biggest names on the list of tax delinquents released April 13, 2012, by the Franchise Tax Board, collector of personal income taxes in California. Under a law passed by the California legislature last year, the tax board is required to list the names of the 500 taxpayers owing the most amount of tax. Previously, the biannual list was limited to the top 250 names.
Franchise Tax Board posting includes the names of corporate officers of any businesses listed. In the future, the state will also be able to revoke the driver's license or occupational license of anyone who makes the cyber-list of shame.
"One of our primary responsibilities is to collect and account for state income tax revenue. We take this responsibility very seriously. In collecting this revenue for the state, we are committed to the fair administration of the tax laws", says the website for the Franchise Tax Board. "When taxpayers do not pay their fair share, it places an unfair burden on those who do. Closing the tax gap is in the best interest of all Californians." The board states that the top 500 tax debtors owe almost $233 million in back taxes.
Anderson says that she is working with the state to resolve her $524,241 tax debt. Besides Francis, who owes a grand total of $794,000 in personal income taxes, other prominent names on the list include CNET cofounder Halsey Minor, actor Nick Cassavetes, and boxer James Toney. Minor is the state's top debtor with an unpaid tax bill of more than $10.5 million. Cassavetes, the son of Hollywood notables John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands, owes $273,000, while Toney's tax liability is $354,000.
To read the entire list of the top 500 California tax debtors, visit the State of California Franchise Tax Board website.