It tax time, that annual season for receipt hunts, mailbox-watching and questioning the necessity of the Internal Revenue Service.
Who’s been naughty, and who’s been nice? The naughty list is below, if you ask the IRS and various state tax boards. But this isn’t just any ol’ compilation: It’s a partial list of black celebrities and public figures — compiled by WalletPop.com — all alleged to have avoided paying taxes.
1. SINBAD – Comedian-actor Sinbad was the celebrity owing the most on the list of back tax scofflaws released by the Franchise Tax Board in California. He is listed as owing $2.6 million in back personal taxes, making him number seven on the list of 250.
2. DIONNE WARWICK – Singer Dionne Warwick made the top 10 of tax scofflaws in California, owing $2.2 million in back personal taxes, coming in at number 9, according to the Los Angeles Times.
3. RUBEN STUDDARD – Ruben Studdard is in a bit of tax trouble, owing almost $200,000 to the IRS and the Alabama Department of Revenue. Most of that relates to 2003, the year in which Studdard snagged a $1 million record deal by way of his win on the television show. He is reportedly working on an album that will be released in May 2009, so his chances of paying off his tax debts are a bit better.
4. MARION BARRY – The IRS has filed a new motion to revoke Barry’s probation since not only has he failed to file his 2005 return; he didn’t file his 2007 return either. In response to these allegations, Barry has responded that he has been on dialysis, and that he has been too distracted to focus on his tax returns.
5. DARRYL STRAWBERRY – In the mid-1990s, Major League Baseball player Darryl Strawberry was convicted of tax evasion, but he never paid the tax bill. So in 2008, he was back in court. A judge ordered Strawberry to pay over $430,000 in back taxes, interest and penalties. The income at the heart of his unpaid taxes was earned in 1989 and 1990. How’s that for taking as long as possible to pay the IRS?
6. O.J. SIMPSON – In 2008, he was named on California’s list of most delinquent taxpayers. Simpson owes more than $1.4 million to the state. California is unlikely to see that money anytime soon, as Simpson currently resides in a Nevada prison, thanks to his conviction for kidnapping and armed robbery.
7. RON ISLEY – Mr. Big was convicted of tax evasion in 2006 and sentenced to 37 months in federal prison. He was also ordered to pay $3.1 million in back taxes to the IRS related to his conviction on five counts of tax evasion and one count of willful failure to file tax return. Isley’s attorney tried to keep him out of jail based on his age and health problems, but had no luck. He is scheduled to get out of prison in early 2010.
8. WESLEY SNIPES – The actor was sentenced last year to three years in prison following his conviction on three misdemeanor tax charges. He is free on bail while appealing his conviction. Apparently afraid Snipes is a flight risk, federal prosecutors are currently opposing the actor’s request to travel to Africa and Europe to film movies, reports indicate.
9. RICHARD PRYOR – The comic genius served 10 days in a Los Angeles county jail in 1974 for tax evasion following an investigation. According to Pryor, he told the judge he forgot to pay. The judge told Pryor he’d remember to pay the next year.
10. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. – On Feb. 17, 1960, a warrant was issued for Dr. King’s arrest on charges he had falsified his 1956 and 1958 Alabama state income tax returns. An all-white jury acquitted him in May. Supporters have noted such charges were often used to discredit leaders of the U.S. civil-rights movement.
11. CHUCK BERRY – The rock and roll legend spent the 1970s touring and getting paid in cash — something the IRS noted. He pleaded guilty in 1979 and was ordered to perform 1,000 hours of benefit shows after serving four months in prison.
12. DON KING – The boxing promoter who promoted major fights for Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield was charged with 29 counts of tax evasion and fraud charges in 1985. Prosecutors alleged he and a partner had conspired to divert over $1 million in corporate receipts to their personal use, but King was acquitted of all charges.
13. FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR. – Pretty Boy Floyd owed over $6 million to the IRS, but a substantial chunk of that has been paid off. It seems his $20 million in boxing winnings from 2007 may have played a bit part in his ability to pay off those taxes.