CNN USA just reported “actor Steven Baldwin was arrested Thursday on a charge of failing to file New York state personal income tax returns for three years. The statement was released by the Rockland County district attorney’s office.” The statement revealed that Steven Baldwin neglected to file the 2008, 2009, and 2010 New York personal tax returns. His back taxes, penalty fees, and interest adds up to more than $350.000 dollars.
Rockland County Special Investigations Unit and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance discovery led to his arrest. “Baldwin pleaded not guilty at an arraignment Thursday in Nyack, New York, and was released on his own recognizance.”
“Mr. Baldwin did not commit any crimes,” his lawyer, Russel M. Yankwitt. said, “He is working diligently with the district attorney’s office and the New York state commissioner of taxation and finance to resolve any remaining disputes.”
Steven Baldwin gave the IRS a check for $100,000 in good faith until the situation is resolved. He had paid professionals taking care of his finances; he had no knowledge of the back taxes. His lawyer argues that he did not show any criminal intent.
According to CNN News Baldwin is due back in court on February 5. By that time his lawyer feels he will be able to make an agreement on the disputed amount. The agreement should be somewhere between 100,000 and 350.000 dollars.
According to CNN News, district attorney Zugibe said that failure to pay taxes will cause government cut backs and closures of local schools and government agencies. “At a time when Rockland County and New York State face severe fiscal shortfalls, we cannot afford to allow wealthy residents to break the law by cheating on their taxes… Baldwin faces up to four years in state prison if convicted on the state felony charge.
New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Thomas H. Mattox said, “It is rare and unfortunate for a personal income tax case to require such strong enforcement measures in order to ensure compliance with our tax laws … particularly in light of the fact that the vast majority of New Yorkers fulfill their filing requirements voluntarily.”
Some other celebrity tax evaders
According to Yahoo Finance Canada, Steven Baldwin is not the only celebrity alleged tax evader. Topping the list:
Willie Nelson’s long history with the IRS began in 1984. He owed $6 million in underpaid taxes. He also owed over $10 million in interest and penalties. “Nelson’s accounting firm had filed for the singer every year, but it had claimed tax shelters that the IRS disallowed.”
” Wesley Snipes is currently contemplating his actions behind bars. Snipes was charged with felony tax evasion for not filing returns or reporting over $14 million in income earned between 1999 and 2001. He was also charged with filing false information to receive tax refunds.
“In 1982, Italian actress Sophia Loren was ordered to jail for 30 days for underreporting income in 1970 to the tune of 5 million lira (around $8,000 at the time).”
The list goes on and so do the celebrities who try to evade taxes. R. Kelly, the R&B singer is financially strapped. According to Huff Post Canada, TMZ reported that Kelly owes 1.5 million dollars in back taxes.
The Baldwin family and alleged tax evasion
Steven Baldwin is not the only alleged Baldwin tax evader, according to the National Review online, big brother Alec Baldwin was also targeted for possible New York tax evasion in 2011. It seems there was a dispute over where Alec lived. He owns a house in the Hamptons and a three bedroom coop in New York City. The case was not made public.
No doubt this is a very stressful situation for Steven Baldwin and his brother who just may be experiencing a little bit of Déjà vu.