Bad Behavior

Thoughts As We Head Into Tax Season

by Larry Stone

In 1976, Harvard historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich wrote an article about pious and well-behaved colonial wives and daughters for an obscure academic journal. She observed that “Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History” without ever dreaming it would become a catchphrase, popularized on t-shirts, mugs, bumper stickers and websites. But women who demand the same respect that society offers men haven’t limited themselves to building businesses, changing our culture or running for President. They’ve also proven they can behave badly when it comes to taxes, too!

Leona Helmsley, who with her husband built a real estate empire including the popular Helmsley hotels, featured herself in advertising as the “Queen” who wanted nothing but the best for her guests. Although her net worth miss such an obvious responsibility.

Badly behaving actresses have caught the IRS’s attention too. Teri Polo, who played the lovely Pam Focker in the “Meet the Fockers” series, racked up $745,000 in overdue taxes while raising two children as a single mom. Baywatch actress Pamela Anderson learned that fighting the IRS is no day-at-the-beach when the Service came after her for $1.7 million. And who could leave a listing of actresses behaving badly without bringing up Lindsay Lohan? Yes, the adorable former child star grew up to experience three different tax liens. Lindsay learned what it means to take on the “Mean Girls” the hard way when the IRS levied her bank account in December 2012 to pay those outstanding amounts.

Women who behave badly with taxes come from all sorts of professions. Style icon Martha Stewart owed New York property taxes because she didn’t stay at her residence enough days to avoid the tax. Lindsey Vonn “won” a $1.7 million tax lien for “missing the gates” on taxes after winning the gold in the World Ski Championships. Annie Leibovitz, the famous photographer of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, owed $2.1 million and was forced to pledge her copyrights to the IRS for every photo she has ever taken or ever will as security for a loan to pay off the amount due.

Although not all women who behave badly with taxes may qualify as a “Queen of Mean” or “Mean Girl,” some may be victims of their own success. We encourage all women, no matter what they do, to avoid the financial mismanagement issues related to taxes by planning. Working with a tax coach will ensure that you are tax efficient and saving all the cash you are legally allowed. We would be glad to assist you in answering your questions so you can make history but avoid getting on the “women who behave badly” list at the IRS.

Larry Stone is a certified public account (CPA) and Certified Tax Coach™ (CTC) tax professional, and Certified Tax Strategist™ (CTS), Larry has specialized training and experience in strategically reducing taxes and saving his clients their hard earned cash. He is a co-author of the best-selling books The Secrets of a Tax Free Life and Tax Breaks of the Rich and Famous. 

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