Recent news reports have revealed a number of celebrities in trouble with the IRS. There have been numerous stories about rocker Ozzy Osbourne owing over a million dollars in back taxes. And you may recall the stories about baseball legend Pete Rose who owed back taxes and was forced to pay the IRS $973,693.12. And then, of course we recently heard about actress Darly Hannah who reportedly owed back taxes to the federal government to the tune of $62,622.
You may also remember baseball great Darryl Strawberry who supposedly owed $430,000 in back taxes from the 1990’s. And who can forget Willy Nelson who ended-up throwing a concert to generate enough income to help pay the back taxes he owed to the federal government. Others like Mike Tyson, Michael Phelps, Andre Agassi, and Derek Jeter have all had their own tax troubles over the past few years.
Now, we’ve learned that award-winning deaf actress and celebrity Marlee Matlin has joined the ranks of Hollywood’s elite in trouble with the IRS. Supposedly, Ms. Matlin and her husband owe the IRS fifty thousand dollars ($50,000.00) in back taxes. But Matlin is quick to point out that any back taxes which she and her husband may owe are not due to frivolous spending by a celebrity out of control. Instead, Ms. Matlin claims she is living modestly with her husband, who is a police officer, and their four children in a suburban neighborhood and just trying to make ends-meet.
So if celebrities, with their tax lawyers, accountants, and business managers can’t stay on top of their tax liabilities, then what should you do if you get behind and end-up owing back taxes and/or have unfiled returns? Well the first thing tax lawyers recommend is not to panic. The IRS will work with you to try to resolve your back taxes. Get your unfiled returns completed and filed as quickly as possible, as this will help you negotiate a settlement of your entire tax liability once all the missing returns have been filed.
Second, IRS tax attorneys suggest you be proactive in managing your tax liabilities. If you wait and avoid dealing with your back taxes, you could be subject to IRS wage garnishments, IRS levies and/or IRS liens. Not to mention you could be racking-up more interest and penalties during the time you are sticking your head in the sand.
Third, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Tax attorneys are quick to point out there are a lot of options for people who fall behind with the IRS and end-up owing back taxes. You may contact the IRS directly and to try to work out a settlement or you may consult a tax attorney or other tax professional to get answers and find out what which options may be available to you.
Finally, don’t get depressed. As you can see even some of America’s wealthiest and better known citizens get into tax trouble from time to time. So don’t panic, be proactive, get help and get those unfiled tax returns completed and filed, and pay the back taxes you owe, or work out a settlement, before the IRS catches-up with you and gets its money from you through other means like IRS wage garnishments, IRS levies, and/or IRS liens.
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