Stephen Baldwin Joins Our Cast of 'Celebrity Tax Evaders'

NEW CITY, NY - MARCH 29: Attorney Russell Yankwitt (L) and client Stephen Baldwin (R) address the media after Baldwin pleaded guilty to a charge of repeated failure to file income taxes at Rockland County Courthouse on March 29, 2013 in New City, New York. Baldwin, a contestant on
Charles Norfleet/Getty Images Actor Stephen Baldwin pleaded guilty to a charge of repeated failure to file income taxes at Rockland County Courthouse on March 29 in New City, New York. At left, his attorney, Russell Yankwitt.

"Take, say, taxes. Everybody's against taxes. In a functioning democracy you'd be in favor of them. April 15th would be a day of celebration. You're getting together to fund the programs that you decided on." --Noam Chomsky

"Stars -- they're just like US!" -- US Weekly

We're far from the ideal democracy described by Noam Chomsky, in which ordinary citizens feel involved in policy decisions and happily fund the society they've built together. We live, instead, in an US Weekly world, where the lives of celebrities command as much attention as the workings of government, if not more. And stars are indeed like us, only more so, in their alienation from communal enterprise, if a reluctance to pay taxes is any indication.

Gallery: Celebrity Tax Delinquents


Stephen Baldwin is the latest famous person to end up in the news for neglecting his civic duty in this fashion. The star of The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (2000) and Celebrity Big Brother 2010 was arrested in December 2012 and charged with failing to pay more than $350,000 in New York state income taxes; Baldwin apparently failed to file in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Baldwin did file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009, and also filed a lawsuit against Kevin Coster in 2010, alleging that he was cheated out of profits from oil-separating technology using during the BP Gulf spill cleanup. Baldwin sought $3.8 million; he lost the case and was awarded nothing.

By pleading guilty Friday morning to one count of repeated failure to file -- a class "E" felony -- Baldwin avoided prison time. He has already paid the state $100,000 in restitution and has agreed to shell out an additional $300,000 before his sentencing on July 19.

Sponsored Links

Rockland County District Attorney Thomas P. Zugibe took a harsh view of the youngest Baldwin brother's actions: "Individuals who attempt to steal from the public are stealing from the pockets of every New Yorker. Regardless of social status or income level, my office is committed to pursuing criminals who purposefully cheat the government and law-abiding taxpayers."

A USA Today report, "Celebrities are often in debt to the tax man," was somewhat more sympathetic to the plight of famous tax delinquents, explaining that "celebrities and entertainers -- unlike most taxpayers -- often have huge incomes that vary wildly from year to year -- an easy recipe for tax trouble.

A review of famous names recently in the papers for owing the IRS turns up a few patterns. Tax scofflaw celebrities aren't usually the sort of figures known as "A-Listers" -- or, if they are, like Lil Wayne, they tend to be somewhere past their prime. Rap, reality television, and claims of financial mismanagement by others also recur. There's a significant amount of marital trouble in these lives as well.

%Gallery-184299%

(Hat tip to Accounting Today, which keeps a running tally of "Celebrity Tax Foibles.")

Your resource on tax filing
Tax season is here! Check out the Tax Center on AOL Finance for all the tips and tools you need to maximize your return.
When are Taxes Due? Important Tax Deadlines and Dates
Make sure your calendar is up-to-date with these important deadlines, dates, possible extensions and other factors in play for both individuals and businesses in 2021.
Read MoreBrought to you byTurboTax.com
Guide to Filing Taxes as Head of Household
The IRS has provided a series of guidelines to help taxpayers understand whether or not they qualify to file as head of household.
Read MoreBrought to you byTurboTax.com
Tax Tips After January 1, 2022
Your tax bill isn't chiseled in stone at the end of the year. Here are 10 tax tips and steps you can take after January 1 to help you lower your taxes, save money when preparing your tax return, and avoid tax penalties.
Read MoreBrought to you byTurboTax.com
Birth of a Child
The birth of a child is not just a blessed event; it's the beginning of a whole new set of tax breaks for your family. Learn how the newest addition to your family can help trim your tax bill, and how to save for your child's future in the most tax-efficient manner.
Read MoreBrought to you byTurboTax.com