Although Tax evasion is a common occurrence ever since the Internal Revenue Service came into existence, it surprises me greatly when I see how many people attempt to evade paying their taxes or just simply fail to follow up in seeing if their accountants are doing the right thing with their money!
Now many will still make the argument that being forced to pay ones taxes is illegal, but for now it IS the law of the land and we must “give Caesar what belongs to Caesar!”
Two recent happenings in the personal lives of highly visible superstars inspired me to touch on this subject, namely former Fugees star Lauryn Hill and Hip Hop Mogul Dame Dash of Rocawear and Roc-A-Fella fame.
With Ms. Hill, she pled guilty to 2012 tax evasion charges for failure to pay up in 2005 and 2007 on 1.8 million dollars in earnings. She now has to report (July 8, 2013) to federal prison for a three month sentence at a Danbury Connecticut Correctional Facility to pay back her debt to society.
With the Dame Dash situation, he was hit with a Tax lien from the two years that he too reportedly didn’t pay his taxes for the years 2005 and 2011. The amounts are for 2005 and $187,544.20 for 2011, at one time in the life of Dame Dash this amount of money he could have sneezed out of his nose, the same for Lauryn Hill, but times do change and that never ending stream and flow of cash can sometimes slow down to a halt long before we realize that we just don’t have it that way anymore.
Now they’re not the only celebrities of recent times that have had major tax issues, we had Fat Joe failing to pay 3 million in combined taxes for income in 2007 and 2008.
There was Mary J. Blidge who was slapped with a Tax lien for the years 2009, 2010 and 2011 for a grand total of $3,426,255.43!
Beyonce‘s dad Matthew Knowles was recently made to know by the Internal Revenue Service that HE TOO needed to pay up on income that he made managing his daughter Beyonce’s career for the years 2010 and 2011 totaling over a whopping $1.2 million!
We gives people?
These are not ignorant people who are not paying their taxes, these are smart individuals for the most part and they have got to know that part of their earnings must be put away so that when the tax man comes knocking his share will be ready!
Now this is not a “Black People” thing to not pay ones taxes as members of all races and cultures have gotten caught up in the web of deception after falling into the temptation of trying to get over on the government. But to me that innate sense of “The Man” coming to get me because I’m successful and making lots of money would even make my MORE paranoid to be aware of what could happen if my money is mismanaged by those to whom I’ve put in charge to handle it.
Whether it is their direct fault or not is not my issue here, my issue is that whoever they had managing their money should have been double checked for being right and exact because at the end of the day, it’s not the accountant going to jail most times, IT’S YOU!
But for some Black people they seem to “lose it” when the money starts coming in huge. The egos come into play and the circus begins, the shopping sprees, the spontaneous international travel with no regard to what the cost will be for an entourage, the lavish gifts and leeches that cause you to spend more than you can ever account for is an intoxicant that will continue to devour those who are deemed “celebrity” for ages to come.
Is it that many celebrities grew up poor and are somehow lashing back at that image of poverty that they have of themselves and some deep rooted sense of not being worthy?
Or maybe they’ve felt they’ve made to the point where they don’t have to ever concern themselves with money as they did when they were on the come up and had to budget themselves and probably did a better job with the little they had then than the huge amounts that they’ve achieved in their near futures.
Whatever the problem that they have with making the necessary adjustments with their financial gains, they need to do it. But it leads me back to a conversation that I had with someone who told me that from their point of view that most Black people are not schooled in how money works or how to accrue funds over time no matter how much or little money that you make!
You see, while it may appear to be very impressive when you see a big star on television spending with no end in sight, it kind of intoxicates everyone because we get sucked into the fantasy of how sweet that must be to run through money like that. It’s only human to feel that way, but the more experienced of us know that there is a downside to the illusion of unlimited wealth indeed and refuse to let that particular demon seduce us.
PEOPLE! we’ve GOT to stop the madness! Black people especially LOVE to wear their wealth on their sleeves for the world to see but have not been the best overall as far as being known for managing their money to make it generate even more wealth by investing than going out to show how much of a consumer that we are.
Making money is an exact art and science and the respect of it will keep us level well as well as getting wealthier with each passing generation if we teach our young how to work it.
So in my eyes if you are a huge megastar or one who manages the career of a world reknown star, you have FAILED BIG TIME if you’ve overlooked paying your taxes because in my book that is merely one of the unpleasant factions of doing business but one that according to law is mandatory!
In closing I just want to say a word about Dame Dash, when he was at the pinnacle of his success at Rocawear and Roc-A-Fella Records, he seemed like he would never stop popping bottles of expensive champagne, driving exotic cars, making huge mega business deals all the while being flamboyant and rubbing it in the faces of Corporate America who couldn’t believe that this young Black man had the balls to walk up into THEIR offices like he ran things!
I loved seeing him do this just as many have, we never hated on Dame but in the back of my mind I thought several times on how he would handle it if his business deals and finances took a nosedive for the worst. It’s the same kind of fascination that comes when you watch the guy walk the tightrope with no safety net under him. You don’t want him to fall but you say to yourself “what if he does?”
But for the most part ol’ Dame inspired us to reach hire while maintaining our sense of self without having to feel as though we must don a suit and tie if we don’t want to. Dame Dash made the Corporate world something of an extension of the corner in the ‘hood, a place where we didn’t have to feel uncomfortable because we didn’t have a Yale education.
But at the end of the run for Dame at his prior level of success, he succumbed to an arrogance that even the most successful of ‘hood corner dice throwers found hard to consider.
Never feel that you’re above the odds when it’s time to pay the piper, especially when the piper is the IRS!
Peace & Righteous Love Always,
Your Brother Who Wants No Part Of The IRS,