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Hogan Settles with Australian Tax Office

April 30th, 2012 No comments

Back in August I wrote about Paul Hogan and his ongoing spat with the Australian Tax Office. Hogan played Mick Dundee in the 1986 hit film “Crocodile” Dundee.

The Australian is reporting Hogan and artistic collaborator John Cornell have finally settled their tax dispute. “It will be nice not to talk about tax all the time,” Hogan told the local paper.

Speak for yourself, Dundee.

Kidding aside, the settlement reached will be kept in confidence.

Hogan’s lawyer did reveal the Departure Prohibition Order issued against Hogan has been revoked. In 2010, Hogan returned to his homeland to attend his mother’s funeral. While he was there, Australian authorities issued the restraining order against him in an attempt to collect on back taxes.

Hogan was among many high-profile targets of Project Wickenby, a multi-agency investigation launched in 2004 seeking to uncover offshore structures shielding large amounts of income from taxation.

Hogan has maintained his innocence. For a while, the Dundee bravado in him was on display during the investigation, as Hogan stated he’d be happy to settle if authorities paid him $10 million Australian. (Today, $1 Australian converts to $1.0425 US.)

At 72 years young, Hogan appears to have finally succumbed to pragmatism.

Gaga Goes Goofy (Again)

December 9th, 2011 No comments

Lady Gaga is arguably today’s most popular American singer and songwriter. Put by Wikipedia, “[h]er career has been a continuous experimentation with new musical ideas and new images and a constant quest for new heights of fame and acclaim.”

Apparently, now she’s experimenting with taking her tax returns, well, not so seriously. Gaga recently appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres show, and their chat aired today. The tax-related discussion begins around 1:40:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HB0VmNc7e58]

 

In response, Ellen wittily reminded us of Notorious BIG’s observation: “Mo Money, Mo Problems.”

From my experience, most people don’t enjoy the process of handling their taxes. If they did, then maybe I would be out of work. But many people take their dislike to the extreme by signing their tax return without first reviewing it. Unfortunately, this action is not a defense to mistakes on the return. Just a few extra minutes spent ahead of time could save one from experiencing major headaches—and back taxes—later on.

Tucker Faces $11 Million IRS Bill

October 15th, 2011 No comments

TMZ is reporting that actor Chris Tucker owes the IRS over $11 million, for taxes owed from his 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, and 2006 tax years:

Andrew H. Walker/Getty

According to the L.A. County Recorder’s Office, the lien issued against Tucker back in July 2010 is still active … which means, he still owes money … which means the government can legally seize his assets.

This statement isn’t entirely accurate. A federal tax lien puts the world on notice of the taxpayer’s debt and establishes IRS priority. In the event some of Tucker’s property subject to the lien is disposed, then the IRS may have a claim for the proceeds. Whether or not the IRS receives any of the proceeds depends on whether there are higher priority creditors. For example, the bank will almost certainly have priority over the IRS with respect to the proceeds from the imminent foreclosure of Tucker’s Florida mansion.

While a lien establishes priority, a Notice of Final Intent to Levy is what provides the IRS the right to seize a taxpayer’s assets. The notice provides appeal rights, which, if exercised within 30 days of the date of the letter, will establish a hold on collection while the matter is under consideration with IRS Appeals. At IRS Appeals, a taxpayer can negotiate a payment plan (e.g. Installment Agreement) or a settlement offer (e.g. Offer in Compromise) to address the outstanding balance. If appeal rights are not exercised, the IRS can and will proceed to levy on a taxpayer’s assets, such as funds in a bank account.

Although the Rush Hour star is laughing about his IRS problems now, I’m not so sure he would be if he disregards a Notice of Final Intent to Levy.

Categories: Entertainment, IRS Tags:

Snoop Settles Up

September 29th, 2011 No comments

…for now.

The Tax Watchdog blog is reporting that Snoop Dogg has fully paid his $476,338 IRS bill. A lien reflecting that amount was originally filed by the IRS in December 2008. Typically, the IRS does not release a lien until after the liabilities associated with the lien are fully satisfied. Snoop should also request that the lien be withdrawn. A lien withdrawal actually removes the lien from the taxpayer’s credit history.

Unfortunately, some other battles between hip hop artists and the IRS don’t have the same fairy-tale ending. See Ja Rule.

Categories: Entertainment, IRS Tags:

The Life of Flair

September 12th, 2011 No comments

When I was younger, my brothers and I enjoyed watching wrestling together. The three of us very well knew that Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, and others were entertainers far more than they were competitors. What we didn’t know was that some of these men led very volatile lives outside of the ring. When I first saw The Wrestler, I was struck with the notion that many professional wrestlers feel so passionately about maintaining their persona that some of their efforts to do so have resulted in tumultuous consequences.

via Wikipedia

But I sort of brushed the notion aside. “It’s just a movie,” I thought. “I’ve never read about any real-life wrestlers enduring that.” Then, a friend of mine shared with me this story about the wrestler Ric Flair. Ric Flair’s legal name is Richard Morgan Fliehr. Of course, there’s tax problems in the story of Ric Flair, but the tax problems merely scratch the surface of the problems throughout this man’s life.

I’m not sharing this story to build sympathy for Flair. I’m sharing it because it added far more substance to the life of a man who I previously had an overly simplistic view of.

The final line of the story tells us so much in just a few words: “He could never separate Ric Flair from Richard Fliehr.”

Categories: Entertainment Tags: ,

Sniped Down Again on Appeal

September 6th, 2011 No comments

Earlier today, the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit issued an opinion affirming the denial of Wesley Snipes’ motion for a new trial and to interview jurors who convicted him in 2008 for willfully failing to file tax returns.

 

In case you didn’t know, Wesley Snipes is currently serving a three-year sentence for his 2008 convictions. He was acquitted of the more serious felony charges brought against him. If you read some background on the case, you may find yourself surprised that he wasn’t convicted of any felonies. I certainly was.

(Hat tip: TaxProf Blog)

The Pen Is Mightier Than the Knife

August 19th, 2011 No comments

Trivia question: In what movie is this dialogue heard?

Teenage Mugger: [Man and woman are approached by a black youth stepping out from the shadows, followed by some others] You got a light, buddy? 
Man
: Yeah, sure kid.
[reaches for lighter
Teenage Mugger
: [flicks open switchblade] And your wallet! 
Woman
: [guardedly] Give him your wallet.
Man
: [amused] What for? 
Woman
: [cautiously] He’s got a knife. 
Man
: [chuckles] That’s not a knife.
[he pulls out a large bowie knife]
Man
: THAT’s a knife.
[Man slashes the teen mugger’s jacket and maintains eyeball to eyeball stare
Teenage Mugger
: S**t!
[he and his friends run off
Man
: [to Woman] Just kids having fun. You all right? 
Woman
: [relieved] I’m always all right when I’m with you.

Released in 1986, “Crocodile” Dundee was an immediate hit. The film starred the likable Paul Hogan, who also co-wrote the screenplay. As much as those on the good side of his character Mick Dundee felt safe and secure, Hogan himself feels anything but these days.

Reported in a feature story by The Australian, Hogan has been heavily connected to a tax fraud investigation by Australian authorities known as Project Wickenby. The operation is cited as the largest tax investigation ever in Australia. After six years of efforts, Australian authorities announced that Hogan would not be pursued criminally.

That didn’t stop the pursuits of the Australia Tax Office, who assert Hogan owes a fortune. Allegedly, Hogan channeled income earned from “Crocodile” Dundee and other films into offshore tax havens without reporting it.

Less than a year ago, Hogan traveled into Australia to attend the funeral of his mother, who passed at the age of 101. As if grieving for his loss wasn’t difficult enough, Hogan was issued a departure restraining order during his visit that prevented him from leaving the country unless he became square with his taxes.

Although Hogan reached an agreement with authorities to enable him to leave the country, the order is still in place. And he’s not happy. In fact, The Australian article indicates garnishee notices have been issued to payers of Hogan’s income in order to collect on his back taxes.

It’s a tumbling fall for the 1985 Australian of the Year, and he hasn’t hesitated to publicize his bitterness towards it. Unfortunately, that strategy is unlikely to help him come to agreeable terms with the Australian taxman and move on with his life.

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