Three years after Lauryn Hill completed a short prison bid for tax evasion, the case is still looming over her head with six figures of debt.
On Sunday, New York Daily News reported that Hill was hit with a tax lien in Mercer County, New Jersey for $438,211. New Jersey court public records also show there is an open tax lien against her for $446,387, though it’s unclear if the two are related.
Hill took to Twitter late Monday, to explain that she doesn’t have any new tax-related issues, but that her situation from the past several years has yet to fully be resolved.
“This has been an ongoing process, and I have been working steadily towards a resolution. It has been an uphill battle, but we’re getting over the hump,” she optimistically wrote.
“I left the game, I wanted out, the way it was organized needed adjustment. When you eat a lot of other people’s debts like I did, and become financially responsible for as many people as I did, a break like the one I took was necessary.”
Hill is just the most recent example, but artists and entertainers are more prone to incurring tax problems than most Americans. Unlike a normal W-2 tax payer who works a regular, 9-to-5 job, professional recording artists who have toured across multiple states are required to file taxes in each and every state they performed in, opening up the possibility of mistakes, errors and accidental (or purpsoeful) withholdings.
There are also the sudden income drops that come with the fickleness of the entertainment industry. An artist can have a breakout year and rake in money hand over fist, earning income from shows, cameos, appearances and licensing deals, but just a year or two later, if their buzz is gone and they haven't released any new music or toured, they become a non-factor generating next to no income. Splurging during the peak, glory years of your career could eventually become a liability, literally, within a few years.
Add to that the need to take on the financial responsibilities of other people, as Hill said, and it’s easy to understand how artists can end up needing tax relief.
Here’s hoping that Lauryn Hill can completely dig herself out of her tax problems and live the life she wants to. With or without the release of new music. In the meantime, artists, please. Get yourself a good accountant.
By William Ketchum III, aka @WEKetchum
Photo Credit: Instagram