In Trouble with IRS


R&B star R. Kelly, whose full name is Robert S. Kelly, owes the IRS almost $5 million in taxes, the agency says. As a result, the IRS has filed various liens in April against the singer’s properties. According to the IRS Kelly owes a total of $4.8 million from six different tax years, including $1.4 million from 2005 alone. The first lien was filed in 2006, the year Kelly was brought to court under child pornography charges. In fact, since 2008 Kelly has paid more than $3 million in back taxes after the IRS filed liens against him.

JP Morgan Chase foreclosed on Kelly's 22,000-square-foot mansion in south Olympia Fields last year, claiming the singer owed the bank $2.9 million. The house was to be sold for about $1.5 million but has been pulled off the market.

As with many famous entertainers, Kelly’s financial matters are left with his manager. But it is common knowledge that many of their managers do not do a good job as was the case with Kelly’s. One attorney who previously worked for a Hollywood law firm explained, “They have managers, who are supposed to be watching their money. But when you get a call from your client at midnight and they're at a dealership and they ask you: 'Is it OK for me to buy a Lamborghini?' (the manager) always says yes, even if there's no money in the checking account. Because if they don't say yes, they get fired."

The tax liens do not mean the IRS will be seizing Kelly’s properties anytime soon but they would likely affect the singer’s credit.

In another unrelated case, Idaho state rep Phil Hart has filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy listing more than $600,000 of debts, mostly to the IRS and the Idaho state tax commission. Hart is a fourth-term Idaho state representative in the Idaho House but he will not be serving another term as he lost in his bid for re-election in the GOP primary last month. Last year he lost his seat in the Tax Committee while under an ethics investigation.

Hart gained notoriety in 1996 when he initiated a lawsuit claiming that federal taxes was unconstitutional and refused to pay his taxes that year. Naturally he lost the case and subsequently began filing his taxes again but the IRS says he never fully paid his tax dues.

Interestingly, in his bankruptcy filing, Hart declared that for the past 7 years, 100% of his legislative pay has been garnished since 2005 amounting to $16,000 annually. He did not list any personally-owned real estate property as his home in Athol is held by a trust he set up in the name of his daughter. However, the home is being sought for foreclosure by the US Department of Justice because of Hart’s federal tax debts that amount to more than half a million dollars. The foreclosure case is now stayed because of the bankruptcy filing.

In his bankruptcy filing, Hart acknowledges that the IRS and the Idaho tax commission have claims against him for nearly $600,000, but says all except $7,009 of those claims is disputable.


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Darrin Mish, Tampa Tax Attorney, The Law Offices of Darrin Mish, P.A. | Attorney Advertising

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