Perhaps one of the most high-profile celebrity tax crime stories of our time is coming to a conclusion. Wesley Snipes was released from prison last week after serving about 28 months behid bars in Pennsylvania. He will now be on house arrest until July 19th under the careful watch of the New York Community Corrections Office.
It is no surprise that TMZ was the first to report the conclusion of Snipes’ prison term. TMZ follows celebrity tax problems like nobody’s business. Even the LA Times cited TMZ as its source for this bit of news.
Celebrity tax problems are common, but most of them surface once the IRS files a Notice of Federal Tax Lien (FTL). A tax lien is a public record that puts creditors on notice that the IRS has an interest in a taxpayer’s property as security against the past due tax debt. A FTL is considered a “passive collection tool,” and in no way does it implicate the taxpayer criminally. What made the Snipes case somewhat unique is that he was prosecuted criminally and he actually served time in prison.