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Lauryn Hill’s Tax Education: Prison

Highlights of history

  • “If that’s not enough for slavery, I don’t know,” Hill told the judge
  • The singer must serve one year of probation and possibly three months of home confinement
  • She is due to report to jail on July 8, unless her lawyer appeals
  • Hill pleaded guilty last year to failing to file over $ 1.8 million in taxes

Lauryn Hill told the judge who sentenced her to jail that she planned to pay her taxes; it was just a matter of when.

The judge reminded him that citizens cannot choose when to pay the government just before ordering him to spend three months in federal prison.

The Grammy-winning singer is due to report to jail on July 8 to begin serving his sentence for non-payment of federal income tax for three years, followed by three months of house arrest and one year supervised probation, the judge said. Hill must also pay penalties and taxes still owed and a fine of $ 60,000.

Hill pleaded guilty last year three counts of failing to file income tax returns over $ 1.8 million between 2005 and 2007.

The artist appeared on Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo in federal court in Newark, New Jersey, for sentencing.

Hill told the judge that she was living “very modestly” considering the money her music – she sold 16 million records – was making for other people.

“Someone did the math, and it cost around $ 600 million,” she said. “And I sat here before you tried to figure out how to pay off a tax debt?” If that’s not enough like slavery, I don’t know.

“It wasn’t a glamorous jet-set life,” she said. “It was a life of sacrifice to file New Mexico Bankruptcy with very little time for me and my children.”

The income in question came mainly from music and film royalties paid to companies it owned between 2005 and 2008, according to the US attorney’s office.

Although Hill pleaded guilty to charges specifically related to those tax years, her sentence also takes into account additional income and tax losses for 2008 and 2009 – when she also failed to file federal returns – as well as of its tax payable to the State of New Jersey, for a total income of approximately $ 2.3 million and a total tax loss of approximately $ 1,006,517, ”the attorney said.

Hill’s attorney, Nathan Hochman, told CNN that Hill paid his taxes in full.

“I think the judge handed down a fair and reasonable sentence,” Hochman said.

Her lack of a criminal record and the fact that she has six minor children helped him, he said.

“I think the government let a number of celebrities go and never prosecuted them criminally, Willie Nelson being at least one example,” he said. “I think the court took that into account as well. Ms Hill didn’t get a slap on the wrist and just paid a certain amount of money, but had to go through all this criminal prosecution.”

Hill also used his condemnation to talk about his music.

“I didn’t make music for celebrity status,” she told the court. “I made music for artistic and existential catharsis, which was not only necessary for me but it was also necessary for the generations of the oppressed who had not made their voices heard like I did. I was able to do it. Music is not something I do from 9 to 5. It is a state of being, and like a doctor who gives birth, I am on call all the time because it is. the kind of job it is.

Hill revealed in a post on her Tumblr account last month that she was working on new music.

“It was reported that I signed a new recording deal, and did it to pay taxes. Yes, I recently made a deal with Sony Worldwide Entertainment, to launch a new label, on which my new music will come out, ”Hill wrote. “And yes, I’m working on new music.”

Her fans have been waiting for new music from her since her 1998 solo album, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill”.