From Gangster’s Paradise to Paradise Papers: 8 Hip Hop Artists Done for Tax Dodging
What do you do if you’re rich, famous and want to avoid paying taxes? Easy – simply transfer your assets to an offshore company and borrow whatever you need back to yourself. Then again, you can always just not file your tax returns and hope the police don’t catch up with you.
If the Paradise Papers scandal has taught us anything, it’s that tax avoidance still happens, and will continue to go on, so long as there are systems in place to support it.
Music artists, like other high net-worth individuals, have a terrible habit of being frivolous when it comes to money. Just last April, rapper and superstar, DMX was arrested on 14 counts of tax fraud and told he could face up to 44 years in the prison. The story goes that X, real name Earl Simmons, set up multiple accounts in different names and paid most of personal expenses in cash. But X isn’t the first rapper to be charged for such a thing, nor will he be the last.
Here are 8 hip hop artists who’ve been done for tax dodging:
1. Lil Wayne
In March 2014, Lil Wayne got whacked with a whopping tax bill of $12,155,984.46, and, on a previous occasion in 2012, was forced to pay the IRS $7.7 million.
2. Mary J Blige
The queen of hip hop was charged $901,769.63 in back tax payments in 2014. Reflecting on the situation, she described it as the “biggest wakeup call ever”.
3. R. Kelly
Amongst other charges, R. Kelly was pulled up for unpaid taxes totalling $4.8 million in 2012. The debt apparently dated back to 2005.
4. Lil’ Kim
She may be one of the baddest mama jamas in hip hop, but, in 2005, Lil’ Kim owed as much as $1 million in back taxes.
5. Fat Joe
Fat Joe made the rookie error of not paying any tax on the $700,000 he earned between 2007 – 2008, and, as a result, received a jail sentence and a $15,000 fine.
6. Flavor Flav
You’d think with such a big clock around his neck, that Flavor Flav would know to pay his bills on time. Turns out he owed the IRS $906, 250.56 in back tax payments spanning 2004 – 2005.
7. Flo Rida
The Florida MC was hit with not one but multiple tax hits between the years of 2010 and 2012, the largest one being $681,411.81. A “low, low, low” point, indeed.
8. Lauryn Hill
Lauryn Hill did three months in prison for tax evasion, having not paid over $1 million in taxes for more than a decade.