TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Snipes Seeks Permission to Travel Overseas to Work on Two Movies Pending Appeal of Tax Evasion Conviction

Actor Wesley Snipes, who is free on bail pending the appeal of his conviction on three misdemeanor tax fraud counts, has filed a motion seeking permission to leave the country to go to (1) London help edit his new movie, Gallowwalker; and (2) then to Bangkok to film the movie Chasing the Dragon:

The appeal and cross-appeal in this case will not be completed in the ordinary course before the end of the shooting schedule for Chasing the Dragon and the completion of the post-production work in Gallowalker. ...

He has never presented and does not currently present a risk of flight. Further, the circumstances of the work, surrounded by a cast of other actors and film and production professionals as well as Mr. Snipes’ contractual obligations to complete these films provide additional assurances that he does not present a risk of flight; were he to abscond under these circumstances, it would destroy his ability to earn a living for the rest if his life. Mr. Snipes will of course voluntarily return after his work on this film, as he has done each time he has been granted permission by this Court.

It is essential that Mr. Snipes complete these two projects to satisfy his civil tax liabilities and provide for his family.

Press coverage:

Celebrity Tax Lore | Permalink

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Sending an extremely high income earner like Wesley Snipes to prison seems pointless and counter to the best interests of this country: if his appeal fails, he will be in prison for 3 years and NOT EARNING an income during that time, so NOT PAYING TAXES. So not only does society not enjoy the benefit of his tax "contributions" for three years, but the tax dollars of the rest of us go to supporting him in prison (said to be upwards of $35,000/year per prisoner - and the US imprisons more people per capita than any other country in the world!). Sure there should be some punishment for not paying his taxes, maybe an incredibly stiff financial penalty (that would get him where it really "hurts"). We have got to stop incarcerating people for non-violent crimes. Our tax dollars should be going to building schools and paying teachers, not to building more and more prisons and continuing to feed this country's prison industrial complex. Clearly our justice system has run amok.

Posted by: Antonia Myss | Jun 30, 2008 9:21:57 PM