The Reverend Al Sharpton has always been one of those controversial figures that people either love or hate. If you’re in the “hate him” camp, then you probably list his sketchy personal finances as one of your reasons. And if you’re in the “love him” camp, then you probably find a way to overlook it. But even Sharpton supporters are having a hard time grappling with this as he gains national prominence.
You can say I’m not a great administrator, . . . you can’t say that I’m not committed.
~ Rev. Al Sharpton
Arguably his biggest problems are his tax debts. He owes something like $4.5 million in federal and state income taxes. Also included in that figure are payroll taxes owed by his non-profit organization, National Action Network, which, according to his accountant, would not be able to stay afloat if it were actually meeting its payroll tax obligations. From the IRS perspective, a company in this financial shape is “not a going concern.”
Sharpton has stated publicly that he is paying down what is owed, but if the tax balances are not shrinking, it normally means that the payments are too small or the taxpayer is incurring new balances year after year. Understandably, the IRS frowns upon the so-called pyramiding of tax liabilities. And understandably, even Sharpton supporters frown upon first class flights, large salaries, and private school tuition which wouldn’t even be an issue if he were on the up-and-up with the IRS.
Granted it is impossible to find a public figure these days without some skeletons and baggage, but Sharpton’s message of equality would carry so much more strength if he would get his finances in order. In his current financial state, he inadvertently sends the message that he is above the law and doesn’t need to pay taxes like everyone else.