It’s the beginning of the new financial year, as all us hard-working types collate our tax receipts and documents, book in to see accountants and cross our fingers that the result will lead to a wonderful lump sum return so that we can escape the bitter winter (queue visions of coconuts and waves lapping).
So it’s comforting to know that even the wealthiest members of society aren’t exempt from this painful yearly rigmarole. Even celebrities need to find the time to pay someone else to manage their finances for them. And if they don’t, they face the same consequences we do.
Today, former Fugees frontwoman Lauryn Hill begins serving a three-month jail sentence for tax evasion. You heard me: that angelic-voiced gospel singer with sass from Sister Act 2 is hitting the slammer. Ms. Hill neglected to pay $1 million worth of taxes over the last decade, leading to a court’s decision that she serves three months in a minimum security correction facility. By US tax law standards, it’s a pretty light sentence (Hill’s lawyer was able to wrangle some family circumstances into her sentence, including the fact that she’s the mother of six young children and written the odd charity cheque or two). But, given the famous R&B singer paid a court-ordered retribution sum of $554,000 to the IRS and, well, that she’s Lauryn Hill, we’re surprised it has led to this.
In similar news, Italian fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana (aka Dolce and Gabbana) have been sentenced to one year and eight months in prison for tax evasion of 200 million euros ($268 million). Trial prosecutor Laura Pedio cited “rock-solid proof” that the power pair had committed “sophisticated tax fraud” under the disguise of a shell company in Luxembourg named ‘Gado’.
Paul Hogan, Rob Lowe, Khloe Kardashian, Martin Scorsese, Nicholas Cage… the list of high-profile tax dodgers goes on and on. So bear that in mind as you sit down to do yours; (did we mention they got Lauryn Hill? Lauren Hill!). Nobody’s safe, friends…