2nd August 2017
Celebrities, more than most, seem to struggle with remaining compliant when it comes to their taxes. We’ve reported on numerous cases of celebrity tax evasion in recent months and just this week, another (relatively) high profile star has been charged with non-compliance.
DMX in hot water
Rapper, DMX – born Earl Simmons – faces 14 counts of tax evasion and a potential 44 years in jail after allegedly cheating the IRS out of more than $1.7m. As well as being charged with these crimes, he also faces additional punishments for telling a bankruptcy court that his income was unknown from 2011-2012 and that he made just $10,000 in 2013.
Simmons is accused of “maintaining a cash lifestyle, avoiding the use of a personal bank account, and using the bank accounts of nominees, including his business managers, to pay personal expenses.” The Justice Department described this as a ‘multi-year scheme’, however the rapper doesn’t appear to be overly concerned and suggested that his association with superbly named lawyer, Murray Richman, would be enough to secure his innocence.
Performing outside of the courthouse (in the video below), Simmons rapped, “We don’t worry with Murray, he get you outta jail in a hurry, when the government trying to bury you, you good-early.”
The rapper’s assets and wealth will play in his favour in this case, with his attorney suggesting they will be hiring additional legal experts, including tax accountants and lawyers who specialise in tax law, an option that probably wouldn’t be available to many potentially facing the same charges.
Celebrity tax evasion cases
Regular readers of our blog will know that this is far from the first case of celebrity tax evasion. Amongst many others, the likes of Wesley Snipes, Stephen Baldwin, Willie Nelson and Dolce & Gabbana have all been cited in major cases. Snipes was the only one to face a prison sentence for his actions and it’s undeniable that the wealth of these individuals contributes to their robust legal teams and therefore greater likelihood of escaping the most severe punishments.
However, few lower-profile individuals would have similar resources to call on to rescue them from hot water and it’s also unlikely that many agencies could splash the sort of money that DMX has on his legal defences. If you want to avoid facing a prison sentence or unlimited fine for non-compliance then you’re better off staying on the right side of the law in the first place, as tax authorities around the world are ramping up punishments for those found to be operating illegally. If you want advice on how to work compliantly in different jurisdictions around the world, then get in touch with the specialists before it’s too late.