Just because today is April 15 doesn’t mean we have to talk about paying taxes. In fact, let’s talk about not paying them instead. We’re revisiting five of the most inglorious moments of tax evasion (as perpetrated by these good people), and showing you what you can learn from their bad example. Oh, yes, there will be Cage...
Tax On, Tax Off
Great Moments in Tax Evasion
Willie Hugh Nelson
The Crime: By the mid-’80s, Nelson accrued one of the largest IRS debts in history at
that time. Which was about $16.7 million. Which... Jesus.
The Time: Mostly spent in the studio. He cut a record called The IRS Tapes: Who’ll Buy My Memories? and shared the proceeds with the IRS.
The Takeaway: Learn to play an instrument.
Nicolas Kim Cage
The Crime: Not paying taxes on the $24 million he earned for Ghost Rider and
The Time: None. But he did lose one Bavarian castle and three houses to the government.
The Takeaway: Never portray a motorcycle-riding skeleton who catches on fire when he gets mad without expecting consequences.
Wesley Trent Snipes
The Crime: Well, he pretty much just didn’t file any tax returns from 1999 to 2001. Oh,
and he claimed to be a nonresident alien, even though he was born in Florida. That almost never works.
The Time: Three years in prison.
The Takeaway: Blade II and Blade: Trinity.
Richard Holman Hatch Jr.
The Crime: Winning $1 million on Survivor and blaming CBS for not giving any of it
to Uncle Sam.
The Time: 51 months in prison.
The Takeaway: You can be as naked and mean as you want. You’re still paying taxes.
Martha Helen Stewart
The Crime: Claiming she didn’t owe NY taxes because most of her friends lived in
The Time: Five months in prison. Followed by five months of home confinement. Followed by two years’ probation and a $30,000 fine. Other than that, they went easy on her.
The Takeaway: Get better friends.