Terrence Howard Faces $1 Million Tax Judgment, Claims It’s ‘Immoral’ for Slavery Descendants to Be Taxed

Actor Terrence Howard, known for his roles in the TV show “Empire” and films such as “Hustle & Flow,” has been ordered by a federal judge in Philadelphia to pay nearly $1 million in back taxes, interest, and penalties. The judgment comes after Howard allegedly stated that it was “immoral for the United States government to charge taxes to the descendants of slaves.”

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The 54-year-old actor, whose last known address is in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, failed to respond to a lawsuit filed in Philadelphia aimed at recovering hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes dating back to 2010. Despite efforts by the IRS to collect the owed taxes, Howard reportedly rebuffed their attempts for over a year, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

No More Taxes

The lawsuit against Howard escalated when the Justice Department sued him in 2022. However, rather than engaging in the legal proceedings, Howard’s only response was a voicemail he allegedly left on the phone of the lead tax attorney handling the case in November. In the voicemail, Howard denied owing any taxes and reportedly bashed the attorney by posting the lawsuit online.

In the transcript of the message included in court filings, Howard expressed his belief that it was unjust for the government to demand taxes from descendants of slaves, citing the history of forced labor and lack of compensation endured by the African-American community. It’s an argument used by some Black activists who claim no paying taxes would be a form of reparations.

“Four hundred years of forced labor and never receiving any compensation for it,” the actor allegedly said in the message. “Now you have the gall to try and prosecute and charge taxes to the descendants of a broken people that you are responsible for causing the breakage.”

The claim did not work for the Academy Award-nominated actor.

Howard never formally responded to the lawsuit. U.S. District Judge John F. Murphy granted the government’s request for a $903,115 default judgment against Howard following a court hearing in Philadelphia. The judgment includes back taxes, interest, and penalties, marking a significant legal setback for the actor, Law360 reported.

This recent legal development adds to Howard’s ongoing financial troubles, he is currently suing Creative Artists Agency LLC, claiming that the talent agency fraudulently persuaded him to accept reduced pay for his role in “Empire.”

Others Who Believe In Tax Reparations

Actor Wesley Snipes served 28 months in federal prison before being released in April 2013 on tax evasion charges. Snipes at one point said that as the descendant of slaves he was not a U.S. citizen and that the government has no right to tax him or punish him for not paying taxes, Vulture reported. He was charged with failure to file returns from 1999 through 2004.

Snipes, who was also accused of fraudulently claiming refunds totaling nearly $12 million in 1996 and 1997 for income taxes already paid, also said he was a victim of “unscrupulous tax advice” and had been selectively targeted because he is Black.

Snipes’ attorneys argued that prosecutors filed additional tax evasion charges against him but had not done so against two co-defendants because they are “Caucasian, while Mr. Snipes is African-American,” Today reported.

Hip hop mogul Ice Cube has long claimed that Black America should be exempt from paying taxes because of reparations due by the federal government.

“THE HIGH COST OF RACISM: BLACKS in America should be exempt from paying any taxes for 462 years. This would help to start repairing the damage done to us by America. OUR BILL IS PAID BY NOW. No more”, Ice Cube tweeted in 2020, Black Enterprise reported.

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