9 celebs who were busted for tax evasion, proving that no one is too famous for the IRS.

9 celebs who were busted for tax evasion, proving that no one is too famous for the IRS.

Monday, April 18 is Tax Day, and it’s officially the last day to for you to suck it up and file your taxes. If you're thinking of just not paying, take a look at these nine celebrities who thought they could dodge Uncle Sam. As high-earning celebrities, there was no real chance they could have gotten away without paying the government their tax dollars, and you shouldn't try to either. 

1. Nicolas Cage

You don't say?

Nicolas Cage got in trouble with the IRS in 2009. According to TMZ, Cage had to pay $13 million for unfiled taxes. The actor was forced to sell a bunch of his assets, and ABC reported that he was spending way more than he should. The man bought a dinosaur bone and two European castles in 2007. C'mon, Cagey.

2. Wesley Snipes

Surprise, motherf***ers!

The human vampire can save humanity, but apparently cannot pay his taxes. Wesley Snipes was convicted on three misdemeanor counts in 2008 for not filing his tax returns (1999 to 2001). According to USA Today, Snipes managed to withhold $7 million in tax money from the government during those three years. And in 2010 he was sentenced to three years in a Pennsylvania prison.


The actor was released from prison on April 2013, but had to complete three and a half more months of his sentence in house arrest—which is nothing for a vampire.

3. Willie Nelson

Spark one for the Willie Nelson fans of the world.

In 1990, the IRS dropped a $16.7 million tab on country music legend Willie Nelson for unpaid taxes. According to TIME, Nelson had to sell many of his belongings so he could earn enough money to pay the taxes or else he would do some time in prison. The singer then released an aptly titled album called The IRS Tapes: Who Will Buy My Memories? Many of his beloved fans took the message literally. They purchased Nelson’s items at an auction, but “then handed them back over to Willie,” reported TIME. Nelson paid it all off in 1993.


4. Stephen Baldwin

This tax evasion story is like a B-movie starring Stephen Baldwin.

In 2013, Stephen Baldwin owed $400k worth of unpaid taxes, TMZ reported. Baldwin was given only one year to close the tab and surprisingly was able to meet the deadline. Still, in 2015, the man apparently owed $90k in back taxes—$30k state and $60k federal. If you want to help out the youngest Baldwin brother with his finances, visit this link and help #RestoreStephenBaldwin. 

5. Lauryn Hill

"Ooh la la la."

Ms. Lauryn Hill is not only an eight-time Grammy winner, but she's also a pretty notorious tax evader. In 2013, the ex-Fugees singer found new residence in a Connecticut prison for three months because she failed to pay back taxes from 2005 to 2007. She owed a total of $2.3 million, Rolling Stone reported.

6. Ja Rule

He immediately burned that costume after finding out how much tax money he owed.

In 2011, rapper Ja Rule (Jeffrey Atkins) pleaded guilty for not filing his tax returns from 2004 to 2006. The rapper had to pay $1.1 million in unpaid taxes, and he was sentenced to two years and four months in prison. At the same time, Ja Rule also served a two-year sentence for a gun charge in 2007, MTV reported. Since both of Ja Rule's sentences ran concurrently, the rapper only had to serve those two years and change rather than four years. Now he's a tax and jail time evader.


7. Fat Joe

Hopefully those thrown $100 bills in the rapper's music videos were stage money and not real money.

According to the Los Angeles Times, rapper Fat Joe (Joseph Antonio Cartagena) was sentenced to four months in federal prison in 2013 because he failed to file tax returns that totaled more than $3 million. The Bronx native was also given a $15,000 fine for tax evasion.

8. Chuck Berry

He once did a beautiful of a song called "My Ding-A-Ling."

Chuck Berry was not only one of rock and roll's most influential musicians, but apparently he tried to get away with not paying $200,000 worth of unpaid taxes in 1979. Berry was sentenced to four months in jail and had to complete 1,000 hours of community service. 


9. Richard Pryor

Such a Pryor move. 

According to NPR, the famous comedian spent 10 days in prison for tax evasion in 1974. Before going behind bars he simply told the judge the reason for not filing his taxes: “You know, I forgot.”

Lesson: err on the side of caution, and file your taxes—now.