Grammy Award winning artist Lauryn Hill has been sentenced to three months in prison for failing to pay her taxes. In addition to three months in federal custody, she will do another three months in home confinement for her crimes.
Hill was accused of not paying taxes on a million dollars in earnings, making her the latest celebrity to go to prison for a tax-related charge. The 37-year old mother pleaded guilty in her case.
It’s not yet clear how Hill’s incarceration will play out in her plans to work on new music. She has millions of fans around the world who were confused by her seemingly odd behavior both on and off stage over the last several years. But fans were rooting for her in her legal battles, since it seems that quite a few black entertainers end up n trouble with the IRS.
Hill didn’t seem to have much of an explanation for not paying her taxes other than not being able to do so without jeopardizing her own health and that of her children.
“I needed to be able to earn so I could pay my taxes, without compromising the health and welfare of my children, and I was being denied that,” Hill said.
Before she was sentenced, Hill told the judge that she had paid $970,000 toward her debt to the government. But this wasn’t enough to keep her from going to prison. However, she didn’t get the maximum sentence for her crime, which would have been a year in prison.
It furiates me when us the worker’s and even artists such as Lauryn Hill are sentenced to prison for not paying taxes. Uncle Sam will go after the little people for unpaid taxes, but won’t for the many corporations evading taxes with off shore accounts.
Plunder at will in those foreign lands, and if you get in trouble, Uncle Sam will come rushing to your assistance, diplomatically, financially and militarily, even if you have managed to avoid paying for those government services. Just pretend you’re a multinational corporation.
That’s the honest instruction for business success provided by 60 of the largest US corporations that, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis, “parked a total of $166 billion offshore last year” shielding more than 40 percent of their profits from US taxes. They all do it, including Microsoft, GE and pharmaceutical giant Abbott Laboratories. Many, like GE, are so good at it that they have avoided taxes altogether in some recent years.
America’s multinational corporations still need the Navy to protect shipping lanes and the Commerce Department to safeguard US copyrights. They also expect the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department to intervene to provide bailouts and cheap money when the corporate financial swindlers get into trouble, like GE, which almost went aground when its GE Capital financial wing got caught in the great banking meltdown.
The most skilled at this con game are the health care and technology companies, which, as a Senate investigation last year revealed, have become quite expert at shifting marketing rights and patents offshore to low-tax countries. Microsoft boosted its foreign holdings by $16 billion last year, and by the end of the company’s fiscal year on June 30, 2012, had $60.8 billion stashed internationally. Through creative accounting, Microsoft was able to claim that only 7 percent of its pretax profit last year was domestically generated.
One of the longtime leaders in offshore tax avoidance has been that once-American-as-apple-pie company GE, which in a more innocent time hired Ronald Reagan to advertise its wares. Now GE has nearly two-thirds of its jobs abroad, avoided US taxes in the previous two years and has $108 billion stashed overseas.
Two years ago, President Obama appointed GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt to chair his Jobs Council, despite the fact that Immelt had cut his company’s US workforce by a fifth. GE’s expertise is no longer in appliance manufacturing, a division Immelt has tried to shed, but rather in financial manipulation.
GE Capital was a leader in the financial scams that still haunt the US economy, and Immelt has been most effective in lobbying Washington politicians to rig the tax laws to benefit his and other multinational corporations. He has created some jobs, but unfortunately, they are abroad, along with his company’s untaxed profits.
When will the US government stand for the right’s of the people? When will the US government ensure this country that riteous moral and humanity does exist?