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Celebrity and Tax Evasion Do Not Mix

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By Nerissa Sardi on April 10, 2009 2:36 PM

The LA Times today published the list of California's top 250 tax evaders who collectively owe $143 million in back taxes to the State. Three notable celebrities -- actors Sinbad and Burt Reynolds, and Singer Dionne Warwick -- were on this year's list.

The economy has brought out considerable anxiety in Americans concerned with how, and how much, they will be required to pay this year. As the tax deadline looms more people are rushing to online resources to help them. With foreclosures & unemployment up and the value of investment portfolios and taxable assets down; the idea of paying less, paying late, or even not paying at all are options some may be forced to consider.

The consequences for not-paying what is owed the government can be steep. Penalties for attempting to evade or defraud the federal government can be as much as 75% for each month the tax is due, plus fines and jail time on top of the original amount.

Check out FindLaw's Tax Penalties:Quick Reference Guide or the Tax Evasion section of FindLaw's Crimes pages for more specifics by government agency and type of penalty.

 

Help for Taxpayers

"I Need More Time to Pay My Taxes"

Taxpayers unable to complete their returns by the April 15th deadline have the option of filing for an extension. In some cases interest and late penalties may apply but they will be far less than not paying at all. For more details about this or other tax related issues, check out FindLaw's Filing An Extension page or peruse the 2009 FindLaw Tax Center which contains how-to information, helpful tips, videos, podcasts and links to government tax sites.

 

"I Need Help to File but I can't Afford to Pay Someone"

For those who need assistance in completing their tax returns and are unable to afford a professional accountant or tax-preparation service, there are many free and low-cost tax assistance resources available. FindLaw has compiled a State-by-State list of resources as well as national tax assistance organizations and websites that may be able to help. 

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