A Lesson in Why You File Your Taxes Courtesy of Lauryn Hill

This is why you pay your taxes on time: Lauryn Hill was sentenced yesterday to three months of jail followed by three months of house arrest for tax evasion. Yikes!

Lauryn Hill January 2012

Tax Day is happily nearly a month behind us, but just in case you’ve ever felt like saying “Screw it! I’ll just not file them this year!” after banging your head against your tax software’s box for hours trying to sort through it all, here’s why you shouldn’t: Grammy-winning artist Lauryn Hill was sentenced to jail yesterday for tax evasion. Yikes!

Lauryn plead guilty to three charges of failing to file her income taxes—one each for 2005, 2006, and 3007—despite having earned more than $1.8 million during those years back in June of last year. Each count carried a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine, and it appears that she did in fact get slapped with the maximum for each count: According to the BBC, the former Fugee will spend three months in prison followed by three months of house arrest. TMZ adds that once she gets out, she’ll also be subject to nine months of supervised release. At least she paid off her taxes in full before yesterday’s sentencing, no?

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Lauryn apparently told the judge that she had intended to pay the taxes, but was unable to after ending her music career to raise her six (count ‘em!) children. She also apparently said, “I am a child of former slaves who had a system imposed on them. I had an economic system imposed on me.”

…Which is something I can’t help but raise a little bit of an eyebrow at. Pretty much no matter where you live, you’re going to have to pay taxes on your income. If you can find a place where you DON’T have to pay taxes to the government, then by all means move there, but if you’ve decided to settle yourself in New Jersey, don’t whine about it. Seriously.

Anyhoo, Lauryn also released a new single—her first in several years—this past Friday called “Neurotic Society.” She posted a link to it on Tumblr over the weekend along with the message, “Here is a link to a piece that I was ‘required’ to release immediately, by virtue of the impending legal deadline. I love being able to reach people directly, but in an ideal scenario, I would not have to rush the release of new music… But the message is still there.” Snag it on iTunes for $1.29.

Lucia Peters is BettyConfidential’s senior editor.

Photo Credit: StarTraks Photo

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