“I Ain’t Got It, So You Can’t Get It” Doesn’t Generally Apply to the IRS

Ain’t never gave nothin to me
But everytime I turn around
Cats got they hands out wantin something from me
I ain’t go it so you can’t get it…

So goes part of the lyrics of “X Gon’ Give It To Ya” by DMX. The IRS and the Department of Justice allege that these lyrics by Earl Simmons (aka DMX) were taken literally by him. Mr. Simmons is accused of engaging in a multi-year scheme to conceal millions of dollars of income from the IRS to not pay $1.7 million in taxes.

Mr. Simmons is accused of not paying his income taxes from 2000 through 2005 of $1.7 Million. That’s his first problem. His second problem was apparently not filing his 2010 through 2015 tax returns. The Department of Justice is accusing him of earning $2.3 million during that period; it would be hard not to have some tax liability with that amount of income.

The third problem was what he supposedly did to avoid taxes. From the DOJ press release:

Instead, [SIMMONS] orchestrated a scheme to evade payment of his outstanding tax liabilities, largely by maintaining a cash lifestyle, avoiding the use of a personal bank account, and using the bank accounts of nominees, including his business managers, to pay personal expenses. For example, SIMMONS received hundreds of thousands of dollars of royalty income from his music recordings. SIMMONS caused that income to be deposited into the bank accounts of his managers, who then disbursed it to him in cash or used it to pay his personal expenses. SIMMONS also participated in the “Celebrity Couples Therapy” television show in 2011 and 2012 and was paid $125,000 for his participation. When taxes were withheld from the check for the first installment of that fee by the producer, SIMMONS refused to tape the remainder of the television show until the check was reissued without withholding taxes.

SIMMONS took other steps to conceal his income from the IRS and others, including by filing a false affidavit in U.S. Bankruptcy Court that listed his income as “unknown” for 2011 and 2012, and as $10,000 for 2013. In fact, SIMMONS received hundreds of thousands of dollars of income in each of those years.

Mr. Simmons faces 14 counts of tax evasion, obstructions, and failing to file tax returns. He faces a maximum of 44 years at ClubFed. He’s been released on bond of $500,000 pending his trial. I’ll point out something I have many times in the past: If you’re a celebrity, it pays to just pay your taxes.

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