Of course, it’s been a generation or so since Blade gave us Marvel’s bloodthirsty vampire hunter, and showed what happened when you combined the acting talent of Wesley Snipes with a comic book that was allowed to go rated R. Of course, much like how Blade has been largely forgotten, there are a lot of folks who have an empty spot in their memory regarding its lead’s tax troubles.
Everyone Has To Pay Taxes. Even Vampire Hunters
Some folks might remember that, back in 2008, Wesley Snipes was sentenced to three years in medium-security prison for his failure to file tax returns. And the story of how and why that happened is something that drives home the point of how easy it is to believe the urban legends around taxes, according to Forbes.
Let’s begin with a bedrock foundation: unless specifically excluded, you have to pay taxes on all the income that you earn. It doesn’t matter if you’re a stockbroker, a bounty hunter, drug dealer, bootlegger, or vampire. Even if your income is earned illicitly, you must declare it, and probably pay taxes on it. Everyone has to file a tax return if they make more than the minimum allowed by law… period.
Now, that sounds like an easy, no-nonsense thing to remember. The problem is that, as long as there has been a tax system in the U.S., there have been those who that taxes don’t apply to them. From the rumors that tax only applies to money earned from a foreign source, to the idea that if you’re independently employed you don’t owe the government anything, there is a colossal amount of misinformation out there. To make matters worse, it’s extremely persuasive misinformation, because there is nothing quite as appealing as the idea that you found a loophole in the system, and you don’t have to pay taxes because you were clever enough to realize the truth.
Which brings us back to Mr. Snipes predicament. Between 1999 and 2004, he’d made over $40 million as an action star, and the “advice” that he received was that he didn’t have to pay taxes on it, or any other money he made. Which would have been quite appealing, given that he owed about $7 million to his silent co-star, Uncle Sam.
Which is, of course, why he was taken to court.
Blade’s day in court
Snipes ended up with a lighter sentence because he shared information about the men who had persuaded him to follow the non-reporting path, but he didn’t get out of trouble entirely. Which goes to show you that ignorance of the law (and the internal revenue code is law) is really no excuse, and that being rich and famous doesn’t do much when the IRS comes calling.
No one really wants to pay taxes. But if you want to minimize the amount you a owe the government, then you need a plan to do so. Claiming you don’t have to follow the rules is not a good planning strategy.
There are tax saving strategies in the tax code for every business owner. Let us help you find the most profitable ones for you.