In an update to a blog post made last week on Lauryn Hill’s reported failure to file three years of federal income tax returns, the singer has issued a public statement explaining her actions. According to Hill, she declined to file returns and pay taxes for a time because she intentionally withdrew from society and went, in her words, “underground.”
She mentioned that her and her family’s health, freedom and safety were endangered by her continued participation in public life. Although Hill was not forthcoming about the exact nature of the danger, she did mention the need to diminish the role of “material concerns” in her life.
Hill’s comments also reveal her apparent belief that this “danger” was sufficient to forego filing returns from 2005 to 2007. She stated that she tried to explain her motivations to the Internal Revenue Service, which summarily rejected them.
Many people may have personal reasons for not paying taxes. The revered transcendentalist writer Henry David Thoreau famously refused to pay a poll tax because he opposed certain governmental policy in his time. But even he spent a night in jail for his efforts, and the IRS can be far more severe in punishing those who evade taxes today.
Withdrawing from society and avoiding materialistic goals will not be regarded by the IRS as legitimate excuses for failing to file returns and pay taxes. In fact, the IRS may classify such arguments as frivolous and may take taxpayers to court if they believe it is warranted.
Source: CNN.com, “Lauryn Hill: I didn’t file taxes because I was ‘underground’,” Tomika Anderson, June 11, 2012.