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Published On: Wed, May 8th, 2013

Lauryn Hill blames slavery for not paying $2 million in taxes, believes she was ‘fighting for…freedom’

Grammy award-winning singer Lauryn Hill was sentenced Monday to three months in federal prison for failing to pay taxes on more than $2 million in earnings during a five-year period.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo in Newark, N.J. federal court also sentenced the famed rapper and actress to three months of home confinement with electronic monitoring after the prison term. Hill must also serve a year of supervised release and pay a $60,000 fine in addition to paying her tax debt to the IRS.

Lauryn Hill FugeesHill is a 37-year-old South Orange, N.J. resident who won fame as a member of the Fugees and then launched a solo career that included the Grammy-winning The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill . She pleaded guilty last year in the tax case.

In court, Hill told the judge, “I am a child of former slaves who had a system imposed on them. I had an economic system imposed on me.” She said she planned to pay her taxes in due time, but was told citizens do not get to decide when to write a check to the IRS. 

“Someone did the math, and it came to around $600 million,” she said. “And I sit here before you trying to figure out how to pay a tax debt? If that’s not like enough to slavery, I don’t know.”

Hill used Tumblr to address media reports that stated she’d reached new label deal with Sony Worldwide Entertainment to release music that would help her pay the tax debts. Hill confirmed a deal with Sony but said the reported nature of the deal and dollar amounts involved were inaccurate.

“I have been working towards this for a long time, not just because of my current legal situation, but because I am an artist, I love to create, and I need the proper platform to do so,” Hill wrote.

“…I’ve been fighting for existential and economic freedom, which means the freedom to create and live without someone threatening, controlling, and/or manipulating the art and the artist, by tying the purse strings.”

Hill earned more than $1.8 million from 2005 to 2007, but did not file tax returns during that time. She failed to pay both federal and state taxes in New Jersey.

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  1. Elena S. says:

    Are you KIDDING ME? Most of us are just POOR SCHMUCKS without any songwriting/singing talents, so we make do with our regular jobs, and WE PAY TAXES WHEN REQUIRED…so Please HIRE YOURSELF AN ACCOUNTANT to track everything you earn, and A TAX ATTORNEY whom you can trust, so stuff gets filed and PAID when due. But, don’t give us that CRAP about that you need to have the freedom to create without your “purse strings” being tied. I WISH I’d pulled the kind of bucks Ms. Hill did with her talent. She certainly found the free time to “CREATE” babies with NUMEROUS baby daddies…

  2. L Boogie Unchained: @MsLaurynHill Blames Tax Troubles On Slavery : KLIOU says:

    […] am a child of former slaves who had a system imposed on them,” the New Jersey native told U.S. Magistrate Madeline Cox Arleo.“I had an economic system imposed on me. Someone did the […]

  3. Lauryn Hill Blames Tax Issues on Slavery | The Sound Live says:

    […] am a child of former slaves who had a system imposed on them,” the New Jersey native told U.S. Magistrate Madeline Cox Arleo.“I had an economic system imposed on me. Someone did the […]

  4. Quick Quotes: Lauryn Hill Blames Slavery On Tax Evasion | DatzhottDatzhott says:

    […] in federal court this week, Lauryn Hill compared her experience in the music industry to the slavery her ancestors endured before a judge sentenced her to three months in prison for failing to pay about $1 million in taxes […]

  5. Quick Quotes: Lauryn Hill Blames Slavery On Tax Evasion | Crunk + Disorderly says:

    […] in federal court this week, Lauryn Hill compared her experience in the music industry to the slavery her ancestors endured before a judge sentenced her to three months in prison for failing to pay about $1 million in taxes […]

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