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The Internal Revenue Service filed $6.4 million tax lien against Robert De Niro in response to the actor's 2013 1040 filing.
The lien, filed three months ago, alleges the 71-year-old actor owes $6,410,449.20 to the IRS -- a sum possibly connected to his substantial real estate investments in New York City.
The IRS sent a notice of the lien to New York City's Department of Finance on February 3. The notice listed De Niro's address as 114 Hudson St., a condominium in Tribeca that the actor developed with other real estate partners. According to the lien, the IRS made a demand for payment to De Niro, but the tax debt has yet to be paid.
The lien gives the United States government a financial interest in all property belonging to De Niro up to the amount owed (including penalties and interest). The actor, developer, and restaurateur is estimated to be worth $200 million.
Lien on Me
So what exactly is a tax lien? It's a penalty that's levied against a person who fails to pay his or her tax debt, and gives the government an interest in that person's property.
Among other penalties, a lien is designed to encourage people to pay up, lest the government sell their property to settle the debt. While the IRS has the right to repossess a property, it has generally been reluctant to foreclose on a citizen's home to collect a tax debt.
Many (Un)Happy Returns
De Niro is far from the first wealthy celebrity to run afoul of the IRS. As you may recall, Lil Wayne, Montel Williams, Bow Wow, Nicolas Cage, Val Kilmer, Chris Tucker, and Lindsey Vonn have all been hit with IRS liens over unpaid tax debts.
If you want to avoid the same fate as De Niro and his famous, tax-dodging pals this tax season, you might want to consult an experienced tax attorney, who can help you file your taxes properly as well as deal with the IRS if you have a substantial tax debt.