The Internal Revenue Service has been aggressively pursuing criminal charges against those in Pittsburgh and across the country the agency says have not kept up on their federal income taxes. According to a recent article, the IRS has opened more than 13,000 investigations and referred around 9,000 cases to federal prosecutors for tax-related criminal charges in the past three years.
The federal tax collectors often like to include celebrities among those referred for prosecution as a high-profile way to warn people about the legal problems they could face if they are suspected of tax evasion or fraud. This year, among the famous people being charged with tax evasion is pop star Lauryn Hill. The U.S. Attorney's office is accusing Hill of owing thousands of dollars in income taxes from 2005 through 2007.
According to the charges, Hill did not file taxes in 2005, 2006 or 2007, when she is said to have earned a total of $1.8 million. If convicted, she could face up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
These potentially heavy penalties show why it is important for someone accused of failure to pay taxes to find an attorney as soon as possible. In many cases, the tax bill may be due to a mistake or bad business advice, but prosecutors are going to try to get a guilty verdict regardless.
Hill, 38, is best known as a member of the R&B/hip-hop group the Fugees, and for her multiplatinum solo album "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill."
Source: The Newark Star-Ledger, "Grammy winner, N.J. native Lauryn Hill charged with failing to file taxes on $1.8M in income," Dan Goldberg and Ted Sherman, June 8, 2012