“it might so happen that you forget to pay your taxes”

The tax man does not discriminate.  Tax problems do not follow any particular socio-economic group; those with back tax debt are as diverse a segment as any.  But it’s interesting how, as a society, we tend to make judgements as to who should be afforded tax relief and who should be required to pay.

We tend to show little mercy when it comes to celebrities.  This guy, for example:

photo via biography.com

Jose Canseco filed bankruptcy recently with intentions of wiping out his mountain of debts, including $500k owed to the IRS.  The web is rife with merciless comments about Canseco and his financial problems.  There is widespread contempt for this man, and even more so now that he’s filed bankruptcy and made some douchey comments recently:

The issue is very simple: If you’ve got friends and family, the more money you make the more you spend on them. So let’s say you spend half your money on them and the rest on yourself and the cost of living. It may so happen that during all of that you forget to pay your taxes.

and . . .

To me, it doesn’t make any sense: If the government prints its own money, why are we in debt?

Another example is Flavor Flav who owes the IRS over $900k.  Behind the oversized clock necklaces and bad reality show gigs is a feeling human being with real-life doubts and worries . . . and mounting tax bills.  However, many people have a hard time getting past the clocks and believe he just needs to pay up.

photo via theurbandaily.com

I don’t get too upset about these stories.  The IRS isn’t settling these tax debts through the Offer in Compromise program.  Even if they qualified for a tax settlement on paper, the IRS wouldn’t accept them as a matter of public policy.  And bankruptcy normally doesn’t wipe out the entire tax debt.  Believe me, these high-profile tax cases get worked very carefully and the IRS gets as much as possible, whether through liquidation of assets or a payment plan, or some combination of both.