International recording artist, rapper and businessman, Lil Wayne, recently paid $7.7M to the IRS to pay off tax liabilities. According to celebritytaxlore.com, his tax follies began in 2010 when the IRS placed a $1.1 Million lien on his property in Miami. The IRS filed a $1,138,760 lien against Mr. Carter in Dade County (Fla.) early 2010 for income tax liability from the years 2004, 2005 and 2007. Then, again, in 2011, the IRS filed an additional lien in the amount of $5.6 million for back taxes; $3,351,078 for 2008 and $2,258,956 for 2009.
In 2008, the year for which Carter owes the most money to the IRS, the rapper had his most successful album ever, Tha Carter III. The album sold 1 million copies in its first week in the U.S. and more than 3.5 million in the U.S. overall; it has been certified triple platinum by RIAA and won the Grammy for Best Rap Album that year.
For most of his career, Mr. Carter has been successful and controversial. Lil Wayne got his start at the age of nine with Cash Money Records; he was the youngest member of the new label at the time and half of the duo, The B.G.’z. Then, Lil Wayne joined the group Hot Boys, which also included rappers Juvenile, B.G., and Young Turk. Hot Boys debuted with Get It How U Live! that year. Lil Wayne gained most of his success with the group’s major selling album Guerrilla Warfare (1999). Lil Wayne’s debut studio album, Tha Block Is Hot (1999), was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). His next albums, Lights Out (2000) and 500 Degreez (2002), were certified Gold. He reached higher popularity with Tha Carter (2004). The album was followed by Tha Carter II (2005) and several mixtapes and collaborations throughout 2006 and 2007. Tha Carter III (2008) became Lil Wayne’s most successful album to date, with first-week sales of over 1 million copies in the United States. Lil Wayne’s debut rock album, Rebirth (2010), was certified Gold despite a generally negative critical response. In March 2010, Lil Wayne began serving an 8-month prison sentence in New York after being convicted of criminal possession of a weapon stemming from an incident in July 2007. I Am Not a Human Being (2010) was released during his prison sentence. His ninth album and first since his release, Tha Carter IV (2011), sold 964,000 copies in its first week of availability in the U.S. On September 27, 2012, Lil Wayne passed Elvis Presley as the male with the most entries on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with 109 songs.
While in prison in 2010, Mr. Carter debuted on Forbes Magazine’s Top 100 Celebrities with a reported income of $20 Million. Forbes list his earnings for 2011 as $26 Million.
However, with his career successes also came the lawsuits, claims and judgments. Celebritytaxlore.com lists 9 lawsuits with the most recent being against Quincy Jones III for copyright infringement. In a reverse twist of fate, Lil Wayne was ordered to pay $2.2 Million to Quincy Jones III. Lil Wayne seemingly employs a wide range of professionals to keep up with the various lawsuits, properties for sale and business operations. But where is the tax manager? He has endured sixe years of tax examinations with an increase in his tax bill of over $1 Million for each year. That is substantial. But so is paying $7.7 Million in Taxes in one year. Great to hear some part of the problem is resolved. We only hope that his tax problems are behind him now.