It’s no secret that athletes are among the highest earning professionals today. However, with the high salaries and big money endorsement deals, comes high taxes, something some athletes find very frustrating. To them, it feels like they are giving their respective governments too much of their hard earned cash. Some have been tempted to hide some of their income from their respective governments.
Over the years, there have been a number of high profile cases where famous professional athletes have been charged and even convicted for various tax offences. Let’s take a look at 8 cases that made the headlines.
#8 Basketball star Anthony Mason
Basketball star Anthony Mason was charged in 2012 with failing to pay up to $1.8 million in taxes to the IRA. The NBA world was shocked by this because Mason enjoyed a stellar career in the NBA and was even a Hall of Famer.
#7 Football star Plaxico Burress
Football wide receiverPlaxicoBurresswas indicted by the State of New Jersey for failing to pay about $48,000 in income tax that was accrued in 2013.He pled guilty to avoid prison time and received 5 years probation. If he fails to pay this money as well as accrued penalties by the end of his probation, he could be imprisoned.
#6 Basketball star Sidney Lowe
Basketball point guard cum coach, Sidney Lowe was arrested in 2013 for failing to payhis state income taxes for a total of three years amounting to about $80,000. He was lucky to escape jail time and was instead sentenced to 3 years of probation.
#5 MMA star Nick Diaz
This was a rather bizarre incident when Nick Diaz a 13-year MMA veteran publicly declared during a post-match press conference that he had never paid US taxes his entire life. This brought IRS attention on him and investigations are still on going to ascertain this claim.
#4 Boxing legend Mike Tyson
At some point, boxing legend Mike Tyson was worth over $300 million. However, after years of mismanaging his wealth and failure to pay his taxes, he recently had to file for bankruptcy and revealed he was $23 million in debt some of which was IRS debts.
#3 Soccer legend Lionel Messi
This came as a surprise to many when football superstar Lionel Messi and his father were charged by a Spanish court for failing to pay over $4 million in taxes for income earned by the player in 2013. Messi however made amends by settling the debt.
#2 Boxing super star Manny Pacquiao
The sporting world was recently shocked when both the Philippines and IRS claimed that Manny Pacquiao owes both a total $68 million in unpaid taxes and faces criminal charges. This is still an ongoing case as Manny seeks to reach an out of court settlement.
#1 Football star Terrell Owens
Former football star Terrell Owens who was at some point worth about $70 million was recently charged by the IRS with a bill of about $438,000 in unpaid taxes for income earned between 2005 and 2009. It’s believed that the player lost all his fortune and his net worth is now $0.
There are now calls by professional bodies to ensure that athletes are trained on better money management to limit such incidences of financial impropriety.