A couple of lessons I learned early on: Never lie to your mother. Worship at the altar of Y! Music. Don't mess with the IRS.
Stay true to these rules and your life will be infinitely easier. If the IRS could take down Al Capone, then like Jim Morrison, they can do anything.
Musicians aren't known to be good with money.That's why they hire people like Gene Simmons to handle it.
Here are five folks who didn't have good relations with the IRS.
Marc Anthony: Poor guy thought his accountant filed his taxes for him. In his position, I would probably think that too. If I had finances, I'd hire someone who understood them to handle them. I'd assume the money I paid them to do that would mean they paid my taxes. Apparently not. I'm told he owed 2.5 million dollars in back taxes for income between the years 2000-2004. That's a lot of years and a lot of money. And to think he thought he had people!
Pavarotti: In 1999, Pavarotti owed 11 million dollars to the Italian government. In 2001, they looked into his affairs again and Pavarotti was acquitted of whatever they accused him of. Why he didn't move to the Cayman Islands or wherever it is that rich people move to avoid paying taxes remains a mystery to me. Unless maybe he enjoyed being audited.
Willie Nelson: In 1990, Willie Nelson owed the IRS 16.7 million dollars. The IRS confiscated and auctioned off his assets. His fans bought them and in many cases gave them back to Willie. Now, take a look at Willie Nelson. Can you imagine this guy had 16.7 million dollars in the first place? I'm sure his bus is worth something. But he ain't spending the dough on those Prada loafers the Pope is wearing, I'll tell you that.
Chuck Berry: Chuck Berry likes to be paid in cash. Nothing wrong with that. But the IRS doesn't care how you get paid. They want their cut. In 1979, Berry was sent to prison for four months and then forced to perform 1,000 hours of benefit shows. If I was Berry, I would've performed "Johnny B. Goode" really, really slow.
Robbie Fulks: Robbie Fulks isn't exactly someone you'd call a household name and I can't imagine that his income is much to worry about. But in the 2001 Da Capo Press Best Music Writing collection, he recounted his audit with the IRS and how a poor struggling musician spent hours, days, weeks, months, in agony wondering why they were spending so much time on a poor struggling musician whose income never seemed like it was much of an income. He got a great piece of writing out of the experience, though.