Spotlight on celebrity tax deadbeats

Nicholas Cage

Nicholas Cage blames his ex-manager for his tax hell. Image: Steve Montgomery/Flickr/CC BY-SA

Tax season is approaching with all its usual fanfare, grumbling and deadbeats. Many of those tax-dodgers will no doubt say the economy is to blame for their tax shortcomings. But what about the celebrities listed below? Surely they can afford to pay up. The red carpet is filling up with celebrity tax-cheats. Paparazzi take notice as we spotlight five.

Nicholas Cage

The Academy Award-winning star of “Leaving Las Vegas” has been in hot water with the IRS since 2002. Nicholas Cage blames his former manager Samuel Levine, whom he sued for $20 million for investments that, in Cage’s words, sent him “down a path toward financial ruin.” In 2009, Cage was slammed with a $6 million tax lien.

In 2010, Cage said he was current at that time, but looking at more hardships:

“Over the course of my career I have paid at least $70 million in taxes, 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.”

Val Kilmer

The “Doors” actor and one-time Batman has had tax troubles since 2004. Last year he was slapped with a $500,000 lien against his 6,000 acre New Mexico ranch for tax debts going back to 2008. In order to alleviate the burden, Kilmer discounted his ranch to $18.5 million. He had originally been asking $33 million for the property.

Wesley Snipes

The adroit star of “White Men Can’t Jump” and the “Blade” trilogy filed no returns between 1999 and 2006. According to the IRS, $38 million went undisclosed and untaxed.

Although born in Florida, Snipes has been quoted as saying he was not a resident of the U.S. and that, in fact, the federal government lacked the “lawful authority to impose any kind of criminal sanctions.” The IRS begged to differ, and in 2008 he was convicted on three charges of failing to file a tax return.

Richard Hatch

The “Survivor” star was indicted in Rhode Island in 2005 for failing to claim his well-disclosed show winnings, as well as other properties. He was found guilty in 2006 and sentenced to 51 months behind bars.

[Don’t be late on your tax bill. A payday loan costs less than IRS penalties.]

Leona Helmsley

Famous for saying “We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes,” the hotel queen got her comeuppance when she was indicted, along with her husband Harry, in 1988 for dodging a $1.2 million tax bill.

Although Harry was found mentally unfit to stand trial, Leona was sentenced to 16 years behind bars. She eventually ended up serving 19 months in prison and 2 months under house arrest. Both have since passed away.

Smart Money

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