Year-end retirement moves, Dec. 2010
Up next for Obama: Tax system overhaul

Wesley Snipes finally reports to prison

Maybe you were distracted by inconsequential things like the Obama/GOP tax cuts deal, but another notable tax world act transpired yesterday.

Wesley Snipes finally reported to federal prision to begin serving his three-year term for not filing tax returns.

During his trial back in 2008, prosecutors presented evidence that the actor, best known for playing the vampire-turned-vampire-hunter title character in "Blade" movie trilogy, didn't file tax returns from 1999 to 2004 although he grossed more than $37 million during those years.

In February 2008, Snipes was convicted on three misdemeanor counts of not filing tax returns for 1999, 2000 and 2001. The total bill the IRS said should have been paid for those three years is $2.7 million.

Snipes still arguing his case: You also might have missed the interview Snipes gave to CNN talk show host Larry King. I did, too. But Janet Novack, author of Forbes' Taxing Matters column, provide all the sad details of Snipes' last-ditch effort to garner public sympathy.

The show's bombshell was an allegation of juror impropriety. That's a legal issue for Snipes and his attorneys to pursue.

What caught the attention of tax folks, however, was Snipes' continued assertion that he wasn't a conspirator in a tax protest scheme. True, the jury didn't convict him on those charges.

But neither did the Florida panel totally buy Snipes' "I was a victim" routine.

Still, he's not letting that one go either.

"The press hasn't reported that I was a client of people who I trusted [who] had knowledge and expertise in the areas of tax law that would protect my interests," he told King.

Mark it as duly reported now, Wesley. But it still doesn't make any difference.

Taxpayer responsibilities: Regardless of who fills out your taxes or suggests whatever kind of tax-reducing moves, in the end it's each individual taxpayer's responsibility. We all agree to that when we sign the returns we file each year.

But oh yeah. You missed that since you didn't file any Form 1040s for several years.

And that negligence, not bad advice from tax advisers, was what landed you three expense-paid (by those of us who do file returns and pay taxes, by the way) years in Federal Correctional Institution-McKean in Lewis Run, Pa.

Enjoy your stay!

You also can read about the tax lessons we all can learn from Wesley's tax ordeal in my Bankrate Taxes Blog post Snipes jailed on tax conviction.

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