10 celebrities busted for tax issues

These celebs fought the IRS, and the IRS won

Giuseppe "Joe" Giudice, at left, and wife Teresa Giudice leave court after facing charges of defrauding lenders, illegally obtaining mortgages and other loans as well as allegedly hiding assets and income during a bankruptcy case on Aug. 14, 2013 in Newark. (Mike Coppola, Getty Images)

If there’s one thing that has become evident over the years, it’s that the Internal Revenue Service doesn’t care how famous you are.

No matter how rich and famous celebrities get, if they don't pay up come tax time, no amount of "Don't you know who I am?" will get the IRS off their backs.

Here are 10 examples of celebrities who were busted for not paying taxes.

Pete Rose

If gambling problems that resulted in a lifetime ban from baseball weren’t enough, tax issues have also plagued baseball’s all-time career hits leader. Rose spent five months in jail in 1990 for failing to report earnings from gambling winnings and income from selling memorabilia.

Dean Cain

The star of “The New Adventures of Superman” failed to pay income taxes in 2011 and 2012, according to TMZ, and was hit with $193,719 in tax liens.

Wesley Snipes

Snipes earned $38 million from 1999 to 2006, but never filed any tax returns, according to Reuters. As a result, Snipes had to spend three years in jail for not paying the IRS about $7 million worth of taxes. He was released from jail in April 2013.

Lauryn Hill

The singer of “Killing Me Softly” ended up killing the IRS softly by not paying roughly $1 million on $2.3 million in income earned from 2005 to 2009. She spent three months in prison as a result.

Ja Rule

One of Ja Rule’s biggest hits is “Always on Time,” but he sure wasn’t on time paying taxes -- and spent time in jail because of it. Ja Rule was sentenced to 28 months in prison and ordered to pay $1.1 million in back-taxes for failing to pay up on more than $3 million he earned from 2004 to 2006, according to the Los Angeles Times.


The comedian had to file for bankruptcy in 2013 after not paying state or federal taxes since 2009. He owed the IRS $8.3 million in back-taxes from 1998 to 2006, according to ABC News.

Mike Sorrentino

A star of “Jersey Shore,” Sorrentino, nicknamed "The Situation," found himself in a bad situation in January 2018 when he pleaded guilty to tax evasion after failing to pay taxes in full on almost $9 million in earnings from 2010 to 2012.

Fat Joe

The rapper served four months in prison in 2013 after he pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to file taxes with the IRS on more than $3 million in income, according to Reuters.

Teresa and Joe Guidice

These stars of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” were indicted on 39 counts of fraud and tax charges in July 2013, according to Us Weekly. Joe was charged for failing to file tax returns from 2004 to 2008. In October 2014, Teresa was sentenced to 15 months in prison, and Joe got 41 months in prison. The couple was ordered to pay $414,588 in restitution.

This story was first published in 2019. It has since been updated.

About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.