NeNe Leakes, cast member of the ninth season of Real Housewives of Atlanta, had an amazing year in 2014.
In addition to her work on the reality show, she launched her Home Shopping Network channel clothing line, The NeNe Leakes Collection, appeared for seven weeks on ABC’s hit Dancing With The Stars, and made a Broadway debut in Cinderella.
She is known for her larger-than-life personality and for flashing her wealth. Evidently, the Internal Revenue Service has been paying attention and, in return, has slapped her with a $830,000 tax lien.
Leakes isn’t the first celebrity to run into trouble with the IRS this year. Earlier this month, TMZ reported that Australian rapper Iggy Azalea owed a tax lien of more than $500,000 combined from the 2014 and 2015 financial year. She spoke openly about her money troubles on social media using the hashtag #IggyNovela.
Leakes did the same and had a little fun with it. Posing on Instagram with her expensive Chanel handbag, Leakes asked her fans to borrow $20 to pay a bill.
She then told her almost 2 million Twitter followers:
And then joked:
It’s nice that Leakes can maintain a sense of humor about this all, and her status as a wealthy celebrity likely affords her that luxury. Tax liens, however, are no joke, and have the ability to ruin lives, especially if you don’t have the financial means to cover the costs in a timely fashion.
If Leakes doesn’t take steps to pay her lien in either installments or in full, the IRS will collect her debt by seizing her assets. Tax liens attach to one’s business and business property, and they can greatly affect the ability to get credit. Leakes has the option to file bankruptcy, but tax liens continue even after bankruptcy is filed.
What’s interesting is how Azalea and Leakes are in almost the exact same financial situation. Both had record years in terms of earning income and were seen showing off luxury items before they received letters from the IRS notifying them of their liens.
Although the finer details surrounding Leakes’ lien aren’t completely clear, she could potentially be the latest celebrity to be targeted by the IRS because of her wealth. Moreover, it’s important to note that more than 23,000 taxpayers were not sent timely lein notices from the IRS for the 2014-2015 tax year, according to a report from Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).
It is clear, however, that the IRS desperately needs to hold itself to the same standards that the agency holds hard-working taxpayers. An independent audit of the IRS would ensure equal treatment of all citizens, flashy Instagram account or not.