Yahoo Reports: Lauryn Hill Says She Didn't Pay Taxes Because She Went 'Underground'

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To that statement, as a practicing tax lawyer, my experience has taught me that a lot of people go underground because they cannot pay their taxes.

Going underground does the individual an enormous disservice.  They go underground one year and then are scared to file the next year because they don’t know how to handle the matter legally or the monetary issues paralyze them.   I call this a snowball effect.  And this snowball effect is very harmful to individuals and families because it leads to operating ‘off the grid’ in San Francisco speak, or operating underground or off the radar.  This realistically means: 

  • an  inability to obtain a wage paying job for fear of being reported to the IRS, which leads to undercharging or low bids.
  • operating on a cash only basis, which can be detrimental to business or lead to currency related crimes/obligations.
  • fear of obtaining or holding assets in your name, which leads to working for years “without anything to show for it.”

All these things and more are very real, currently affecting millions of US citizens, and thereby affecting their businesses, local businesses and the economy.   All of this, AND the fact that they face criminal tax charges and criminal and civil monetary penalties, like Lauryn Hill.

In the 30 plus years, my law firm and I have helped thousands of  individuals get their back tax returns caught up, negotiated with the taxing authorities on the bill, and start living above ground -- without the fear of prosecution for failure to file or other crimes, without having to operate on a cash-only basis, and without having to move assets around.