Flat Broke: Lil Kim owes $126,000 to the IRS and even more to her lawyers

By Hira Waqar

A well-known rapper, Lil’ Kim, known for her outstanding style, owes approximately $126,725.12to the Federal Reserve. It seems like the word “millionaire” is associated with Lil Kim only in terms of her debt with the IRS. She has continued her legacy of not paying the monumental amount of taxes, and it is highly likely that her name will keep coming up on the list of celebs who owe taxes.

There are always a few celebrities who owe taxes to the government from time to time, but Kim has made a habit of not paying taxes. Lil Kim, whose real name is Kimberly Jones, gave birth to her daughter, Royal Reign, last June. She recently made it to the headlines following her tax liability to Uncle Sam, where she was charged with a tax lien by the Federal Reserves for not paying taxes since 2010.

This is certainly not the first time that Kim has failed to pay the taxes. Back in 2006, she was released from the prison with a three year probation. A couple of years after her release, she appeared on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars.

According to Kim, the appearance was an effort to reinvent herself. She managed to get warm reviews from the audience during that show. All the fan following did not keep the IRS from knocking on her door. In 2009, it was unveiled that she owed about 1 million dollars in federal back and state taxes. In response to this announcement, her spokesperson stated that she was making an effort to pay off her tax liability. She owed that amount to not only the state of New York, but also California and New Jersey.

The latest news of Kim’s liability in back taxes came to the limelight after a lawsuit was filed against her 4 months ago by Dewey & LeBoeuf, her former legal team, when she failed to make a payment of $186,217.93 to them for providing 5 years legal services. The judge, who is in charge of this case, has said that she owes that amount to her ex legal team in addition to the interest payment.

According to a report by TMZ*,* the legal court documents indicated that Kim has been in debt since 2002, and owed money every year from 2002 until 2009. Kim says she’s working on the situation, but it’s been 12 years, and still little-to-no progress.

Financial Juneteenth lessons from this story (courtesy of Dr Boyce Watkins):

1) One of the biggest frauds perpetrated against the African American community has been the bastardization of hip-hop music, converting it into a lifestyle where artists lie to the public and spread the virus of unhealthy financial habits. Expensive cars, fur coats and popping bottles at the club remains a part of the culture, while behind-the-scenes, most of these artists are not only failing to build wealth, they are also ruining the financial situation for both themselves and their children. After all the music Kim has made over the years, there’s no reason why she should be struggling as a 40-year old woman.

2) Even worse than the bastardization and corporate coopting of hip-hop culture is the infantilization of many hip-hop artists. Many leading artists, after experiencing the joys and riches of the fast life as 18 – 20 year olds, spend the rest of their lives trying to recapture the wealth and fame they once had. You rarely see a former hip-hop star become a doctor, lawyer or accountant after their career starts to flop. Typically, because they’ve indentified themselves as artists, many former superstar rappers spend the remainder of their years trying to regain the glory they experienced as young people. This might also include remaining connected to the trappings of a “hip-hop lifestyle,” including clubbing, drinking, smoking, spending and womanizing. It’s incredibly sad and unattractive when you’re 40 years old, still trying to compete with kids out of high school.

3) For the record, the IRS typically becomes the beast that almost no celebrity can slay, because the debt gets bigger with your income level. So, the frugality required to conquer an IRS debt requires the kind of economic discipline that is not promoted by the lifestyle of mainstream hip-hop artists. So, the IRS is effectively a form of economic quicksand: Once you’re caught, you’ll probably be sucked in for life. We wish Kim the best.

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