Lauryn Hill makes eleventh-hour tax payment

2013-05-06 09:41

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Newark – Hip-hop artist Lauryn Hill, on the eve of her scheduled sentencing on federal tax evasion charges, has paid off the balance of more than $900 000 (R8 million) she owed in back taxes and penalties, her attorney has said.

The Grammy-winning musician is scheduled for sentencing today in a US District Court in Newark, New Jersey, on three charges that she failed to file tax returns on more than $1.8 million between 2005 and 2007.

She faces up to a year in jail for each charge, but the final sentence is expected to be adjusted based on her repayment of the money, her attorney said.

She owed at least $504 000 in federal back taxes, as well as state taxes and penalties that brought the estimated total to more than $900 000.

“Ms Hill has not only now fully paid her taxes prior to sentencing, but she has additionally fully paid her federal and state personal taxes for the entire period under examination through 2009,” her attorney, Nathan Hochman, said in an email.

In April, Hill was admonished by US Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo for failing to make promised payments on her unpaid taxes ahead of her sentencing.

She had expected to raise the money from a new recording contract last fall, but only paid $50 000 when she did not complete the expected tracks, her attorney said.

Her attorney said last month that Hill lined up a loan secured by two pieces of property. He said yesterday that the tax repayment came from a combination of sources, but did not include funds from any new record sales.

A new single by Hill, her first in several years, called Neurotic Society, was posted on iTunes on Friday.

She posted a link to the song on the social media site Tumblr on Saturday, writing: “Here is a link to a piece that I was ‘required’ to release immediately, by virtue of the impending legal deadline.

“I love being able to reach people directly, but in an ideal scenario, I would not have to rush the release of new music ... But the message is still there,” she wrote.

Hill’s 1998 solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, won the singer, a former member of the Fugees, five Grammy awards.

Hill is from South Orange, New Jersey.

A spokesperson for US Attorney Paul Fishman declined to comment on the case, as did a spokesperson for the Internal Revenue Service.

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