Robert De Niro paid his taxes Thursday morning to the tune of more than $6.4 million, after the IRS slapped him with the whopping tax lien when, the tax collectors said, the iconic Taxi Driver star blew off a tax debt from his 2013 tax return.
But through a spokesperson, De Niro offered an interesting excuse, claiming that the government was mailing delinquency notices on the massive amount of overdue taxes “to an old address,” creating the impression that while De Niro, 71, may be the greatest film actor of his generation, he apparently has never heard of mail forwarding.
“If they sent the bill to the right address, it would have gotten paid sooner,” said De Niro attorney, Tom Harvey, quoted in The New York Daily News.
The strange situation also raises the question of how a debt of $6,410,449.20 in taxes could simply slip through the cracks. How did De Niro somehow forget to pay it in the first place?
Even for the Little Fockers star, who is reportedly worth a healthy $200 million, that sum equals a lot of money.
For readers who actually pay their taxes and might not know what a tax lien is, exactly, a “lien” gives the government the right to collect its tax debt by seizing a tax delinquent’s property, or garnishing wages.
“The lien protects the government’s interest in all your property, including real estate, personal property and financial assets,” the IRS says.
De Niro’s lawyer claimed that as soon as the Untouchables star learned that he was, in fact, a tax deadbeat, he remedied the situation by cutting a check for the entire amount that he owed and having it hand-delivered to an Internal Revenue Service office.
The IRS had yet to confirm that De Niro had indeed paid his taxes, as of Thursday night.
The documents showing that Robert De Niro was nearly two years late paying his taxes were posted on the site The Smoking Gun, after being uncovered by another document-digging site, Famous Tax Liens.
The new site is devoted to documenting the tax problems of wealthy business moguls and celebrities. The Robert De Niro story was the site’s first big scoop.
The issue over taxes was not the first time that Robert De Niro has battled over debts to the government. He owns a 98-acre property in upstate New York’s Catskills region, and the actor took on local authorities there over the land’s tax assessment.
The fight over taxes between Robert De Niro and the town of Gardiner, New York, lasted from 2010 to 2014 before the Raging Bull star finally gave up.
[Image: Rob Kim/Getty Images]