Actor Robert De Niro is known as being one of the most successful working actors in Hollywood. More recently, De Niro's name made headlines when it was revealed that the Internal Revenue Service filed a tax lien against the actor related to a $6.4 million dollar outstanding tax bill.
The actor, whose net worth is reported to be in excess of $200 million, blamed the embarrassing tax gaffe on the fact that IRS notices related to the hefty tax bill were sent to an old address. While a superstar like De Niro is fortunate in that he has the means to quickly resolve tax debt issues, many other Americans aren't as fortunate.
When an IRS tax problem gets to the point where a lien is filed, it's a pretty big deal. Prior to filing a lien, the agency takes steps to notify a taxpayer about a delinquent tax bill by sending an official "Notice and Demand for Payment." A federal tax lien is only filed if a taxpayer fails to pay a tax debt within 10 days of receiving this IRS notice.
An IRS tax lien covers all personal property and serves to alert any other creditors that the agency has the right to recover debts before they do. Individuals facing an IRS tax lien would be wise to contact and work with the agency to resolve outstanding tax debt issues. An individual who pays or settles their tax debt can request that a tax lien be removed.
In some cases, an individual may refute the amount of debt the IRS says he or she owes. In any tax dispute, it's wise to consult with a criminal defense attorney who handles IRS tax matters. An attorney will review an individual's case and, if warranted, take action to refute the IRS’ claims and defend against any criminal charges.
Source: Forbes, "Robert De Niro Hit With $6.4M Tax Bill: A Cautionary Tale," Robert W. Wood, Feb. 27, 2015