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Learning from celebrity tax mishaps: part one

Many people follow celebrity news to stay up-to-date on pop culture, gossip and the latest fashion trends. Some people consider the rich and famous to be role models for building a brand and running a business. But it doesn't stop there.

As several recent cases highlight, celebrities and public figures can also teach us lessons about how to handle our taxes. As Tax Day (April 15) draws nearer, it is wise to look at some recent high-profile tax disputes for a refresher on the importance of adhering to IRS rules and deadlines.

For example, it may be helpful to take a look back at actor Wesley Snipes' 2008 trial. He was convicted of three counts of failing to file tax returns, a misdemeanor. Despite the fact that he only faced misdemeanor charges, he was sentenced to three years in prison. He was acquitted of felony charges of filing false returns.

Mixed martial artist Nick Diaz also has concerns about spending time in jail for tax violations, apparently. In a recent press conference, Diaz said, "I've never paid taxes in my life and I'll probably go to jail."If he is referring to failure to file returns, there is a possibility that he could spend some time in jail. However, if he only meant that he hasn't had the money to pay taxes he won't land in prison.

If you have concerns about the status of your taxes or fear trouble with the IRS, it may not be wise to tell a room full of reporters about it. Rather, if you have questions about your return consider speaking with an experienced tax law attorney.

Source: Forbes, "IRS Problems That Land Even Jailers in Jail," Robert Wood, March 29, 2013

To learn more about handling tax litigation and audits, please visit our website.

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