Those tax troubles are common for celebrities, even those who have accountants lined up to take care of crunching their numbers. There have been recent reports of people like Chris Tucker and Lil Pump hit with IRS claims that they owe millions in unpaid taxes, and it is a legal snag that several rich and famous figures have faced over the years.
Will Smith has been on a lucrative book tour as he promotes his memoir Will, and he was in London at the Savoy when he spoke with Idris Elba about his financial woes pre-The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
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The “West Philadelphia born and raised” icon told the actor that he was indebted to the IRS to the reported tune of over $2 million and had no idea how to remedy his money problems.
“I’m not sure what the government is like with taxes in the U.K., but in the U.S. they take it seriously,” he said. “So Uncle Sam wanted his money. I didn’t forget—I just didn’t pay.” To help settle the debt Smith admitted that he had to “to sell everything, and I knew whatever my new life was going to be I could feel it was going to be in Los Angeles.”
“So, I borrowed $10,000 from a friend of mine who was a purveyor of neighborhood pharmaceuticals,” Smith said as he described his drug-dealing buddy. “I borrowed $10,000 and I moved to Los Angeles and one time we were doing shows and I was trying to drum up some cash so we were in Detroit and we were doing a show. I had met a guy named Benny Medina. You remember Arsenio Hall? I started to go there because everybody was on Arsenio Hall.”
It could be argued that the loan was what truly helped Will Smith take his dreams by the reins.[via]