Skip to content

Tax Troubles of the Rich and Famous

These 8 celebrities have tangled with the tax man

When you’re rich and famous — but not careful about paying your income taxes, in full and on time — it’s easy to wind up a target of the IRS or state tax agencies.

Even celebrities find themselves on Uncle Sam’s radar when it comes to unpaid or owed taxes. The folks shown here are in their mid-40s or older, so they’re at a point in their lives when they likely planned to be on financial “Easy Street” — rather than sweating about overdue taxes and dealing with big money problems.

Musician Ozzy Osbourne and wife Sharon Osbourne

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty

Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne

In 2011, it was revealed that Ozzy, now 64, and Sharon, 60, owed the IRS more than $2 million. The rocking duo had $357,071 in unpaid taxes from 2007, along with a tax bill of $718,948 from 2008 and $1.024 million in overdue taxes from 2009. The IRS put a tax lien on their home, but the home was never seized. Since then, the Osbournes have knocked down at least $700,000 of their tax debt. Sharon has also suggested that they’re watching their finances more closely — instead of relying on accountants and money managers.

Singer Dionne Warwick

Brian J. Ritchie/Rex Features/AP

Dionne Warwick

The singer filed for bankruptcy protection in March 2013, telling a court she owed $10.7 million in federal and state taxes that she simply could not pay. Warwick’s IRS troubles have been well documented and go back to the 1990s. With her Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, the 72-year-old performer hopes to put her tax woes behind her once and for all.

Actress and Model Pamela Anderson

Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Pamela Anderson

The former Baywatch beauty has struggled with tax problems for years. In December 2012, both the IRS and California authorities hit Anderson with two tax liens totaling more than $370,000. Anderson, 45, owes the feds $259,396 for unpaid taxes in 2011. She’s also facing a $112,119 tax lien from the Golden State for unpaid taxes for the same year.

Actor Nicolas Cage

Luca Teuchmann/WireImage/Getty Images

Nicolas Cage

After teetering on the brink of financial ruin, and owing the IRS a whopping $14 million in taxes, Cage says he has settled down and is rebuilding his financial life in Sin City. In March 2013, the actor, who will turn 50 in January 2014, appeared on the Today show and said he now has “a simple life” in Las Vegas with his wife and young son. Last April, Cage paid $600,000 toward his tax debt, leaving him with about $6 million in taxes still outstanding.

Actor Stephen Baldwin

Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Images

Stephen Baldwin

After filing for bankruptcy protection in 2009, things got so bad in 2012 for Baldwin (brother to fellow actors Alec, William and Daniel) that New York authorities arrested him for alleged state income tax evasion. According to the New York Daily News, the 46-year-old performer owes more than $350,000 in back state taxes. Baldwin managed to avoid jail time by admitting he had failed to file taxes for three years and agreeing to pay up.

O.J. Simpson in court

Ethan Miller/AP Images

O.J. Simpson

It can be hard to pay the tax man when you’re in prison, not earning any money. But jail won't protect the former football star, who has been slapped with more than $500,000 in tax liens. Simpson, 65, who was famously tried — and acquitted — on charges of murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman, is serving time on armed robbery and kidnapping charges. The government may try to tap some of his remaining assets or get a slice of his NFL pension.

Photographer Annie Leibovitz

Michael Gottschalk/AFP/Getty

Annie Leibovitz

The celebrity photographer has been burdened by $24 million in debt, including $1.4 million in back taxes. The IRS said the 63-year-old shutterbug hadn’t reported income earned between 2004 and 2007. At first, her economic travails put the rights to her photographs at risk, but Leibovitz has since restructured her debts and worked out a plan to keep her prized photos.

Golfer Jim Thorpe

Chris Condon/Getty Images

Jim Thorpe

The professional golfer got in such hot water with the IRS that his $2 million tax problem landed him in jail. After serving a yearlong sentence in 2010 for failing to pay income taxes, Thorpe resumed his career on the Champions Tour. At 64, the North Carolina native is still paying off his tax debts.

Also of Interest

Join AARP Today — Receive access to exclusive information, benefits and discounts

Join the Discussion

0 %{widget}% | Add Yours

You must be logged in to leave a comment.