There are two guarantees in life; death and taxes and there is really no way to escape either of those. People have tried, but Uncle Sam always gets them in the end. Just like everyone has to pay taxes, anyone could get into serious tax trouble, even celebrity millionaires! In this Celebrity Tax Trouble round up, we’ll look at why one actor could be getting into more tax trouble and how a celebrity lawyer is now defending himself against tax evasion.
Empire actor Terrence Howard is under investigation for criminal tax evasion according to The Blast. The site claims that documents show that the United States Attorney’s Office is looking into Howard and his wife, Miranda Park, to see if they committed possible financial crimes. It was reported that Howard was hit with a tax lien due to owing over $140,000 in back taxes. This isn’t the first time Howard has been in tax trouble. The actor had previously been hit with tax liens from the IRS for owing $1.1 million dollars in 2010 and owing over $600,000 in 2006. The United State’s Attorney’s Office says they cannot confirm or deny the existence of the tax fraud investigation. Howard has yet to comment on the investigation or the tax lien.
Mel B’s troubles are still mounting as her and her ex-husband Stephen Belafonte have been hit with a tax lien. The couple reportedly owes more than $250,000 in back taxes. Documents show that the couple owes a total of $274,863.99 to the IRS. It is not known which party will be responsible to pay the back taxes in full or if the couple will split the tax debt. Mel B filed for divorce from Belafonte in March of 2017. The divorce was finalized that December. The Blast reports that the Spice Girls singer’s America’s Got Talent paychecks have been garnished by the IRS in an effort to collect on the outstanding tax debt.
You can’t outrun the law, even if you’re a lawyer. Michael Avenatti learned that lesson the hard way. Avenatti, the celebrity lawyer who rose to fame for representing Stormy Daniels, has been indicted on a list of charges by a federal grand jury in California. The 36 charges include embezzlement, wire fraud, bankruptcy fraud, and bank fraud along with tax evasion. It is reported that Avenatti withheld settlement payments from five of his clients by lying about the terms of the settlement, and then would transfer the money to an attorney trust fund that he controlled.
On top of years of deception and fraud, Avenatti also racked up a hefty tax debt bill. In 2011, he submitted phony tax returns to a Mississippi bank in order to obtain around $4.1 million in loans. In reality, Avenatti hadn’t filed a tax return for several years. Avenatti allegedly still owes the IRS around $850,438 in unpaid personal income tax plus interest and penalties. Avenatti has decided to plead not guilty and has told the media he will be “fully exonerated and justice will be done.” If found guilty he could be disbarred as an attorney and face up to 100 years in prison.