Actors Who Owed Back Taxes

Tax Man Plays a Starring Role Behind the Scene


Actors can get their hands on some serious pay days when they get that starring role in a major motion picture. But after the roles dry up and the work stops, the little money left over leaves little left for the tax man.

Actors place a premium on maintaining an image after being thrust in the Hollywood spotlight. For some, that includes being noticed in pricey cars and hilltop mansion parties.

But the tax man eventually comes in for his take, sometimes with bad results. Here’s a look at a few actors who’ve run into tax trouble.

  • Shannen Doherty starred as Jason Priestly’s sister in Beverly Hills 90210. In the show, her dad worked in financial management. If that were true in real life she could have possibly avoided owing the IRS $332,000 in back tax debt.
  • Comedian D.L. Hughley made a career making people laugh as one of the Original Kings of Comedy. But tax officials weren’t laughing at the $1 million he owed in back taxes.
  • Lindsay Lohan is known for her wild ways off the big screen. But all that partying may have caught up to her as she ended up owing nearly $231,000 in back tax debt.
  • Sinbad had his heyday as a comedian in the 1990s. But his IRS debt also made it big – $8 million big. His not being able to pay his taxes cost him a home, and he filed for bankruptcy.
  • Robert Downey Jr. plays characters like Sherlock Holmes and Iron Man, but he came to owe more than $2 million in back state and federal taxes before his career made a comeback.
  • Actress Paula Patton starred in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol with Jeremy Renner. But she and her R&B singer husband Robin Thicke were the target of an IRS lien for almost half a million dollars. Their spokeswoman said they paid it off.

Unlike most people, actors can potentially get that one starring role to earn the millions necessary to pay off their back tax debt.

But you don’t need to be an actor to get back in the IRS’s good graces. By working with a tax professional now you can avoid the need for a tax attorney later.

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