Wednesday, April 01, 2009

10 Professional Athletes that had IRS Tax Problems

As we all have heard, President Obama’s recent nominations have had to answer for some past tax transgressions while under consideration by the U.S. Senate. However, politicians are not the only ones with tax problems. Dozens of athletes and celebrities often feel they are above the law, and do not pay proper taxes on their fortunes. In honor of angry, taxpaying sports fans everywhere, I have put together the following list of 10 professional athletes that had IRS tax problems.

1. Darryl Strawberry

Dodgers star, Darryl Strawberry first got in to trouble with the IRS in 1994 when he was put under investigation for tax fraud. The IRS tacked him with tax evasion, and he had to pay back $350,000 in back taxes, serve 3 years of probation, six years of home confinement, and complete 100 hours of community service.

2. Lawrence Taylor

Former Giants linebacker, Lawrence Taylor filed an incorrect federal income tax return back in 1990. Taylor pleaded guilty to the tax charges in 1997, and was punished with three months house arrest, five years probation and 500 hours of community service for income tax evasion.

3. Pete Rose

Baseball favorite, Pete Rose, also got in to some trouble with the government in 1990, when he filed a false income tax return. Despite his celebrity status, Rose was sentenced to five months in a correctional facility, three months in a community treatment center, 1,000 hours of community service and a $50,000 fine.

4. Helio Castroneves

The recent controversy around Indy 500 racer Helio Castroneves and his supposed $5 million tax debt has shed light on the tax problems sports stars can get in to. He is currently being tried for evading taxes on a licensing deal that he claims to never have received a dime from. Only time will tell whether the Indy 500 and dancing with the stars celebrity actually committed the tax crime.

5. Willie McCovey

Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, like many other athletes who ran in to tax trouble, did so by forgetting to claim cash made during autograph signing. While McCovey pleaded guilty to the crime, he also claimed to have committed it unknowingly, since he had a professional handle his accounting. He was sentenced to two years of probation and fined $5,000.

6. O.J. Simpson

Although infamous for more than his athletic abilities, O.J. Simpson upset the IRS enough to be put on the California tax shame list. His tax debt was over $1.5 million, and he stayed on the list for more than a year.

7. Jesse Owens

The late 1930’s Olympic winner Jesse Owens got himself into trouble with the IRS. After the Olympics, Owens tried multiple business ventures in the United States to profit off his newly found fame. However, one of his ventures lost Owens a fortune and rendered him unable to pay his full tax liability. As a result, Owens was forced to declare bankruptcy.

8. Boris Becker

Famed tennis player and bad boy, Boris Becker, ran right in to tax trouble when it was discovered his apartment was not his priority residence, as previously claimed. As a result, he was given two years probation, fined $500,000, and ordered to pay expensive court fees.

9. Joe Louis

The infamous boxer Joe Louis was not much of a troublemaker before the taxman got to him. In fact, he donated money to the government after the attacks on Pearl Harbor, and even provided entertainment and uniforms to thousands of army troops. However, as tax rates increased Louis began to unknowingly accumulate back tax liabilities. Although he came out of retirement to help pay off his tax debts by fighting again, he died before he was able to fully repay the IRS.

10. Barry Bonds

AAmongst allegations of steroid use, Barry Bonds was also said to have evaded $80,000 in taxes. As of 2009, Bonds is still fighting both cases.

Blog Archive