Robert De Niro found out from the press that he owed $6.4 million in taxes

'Remembering the artist Robert De Niro, Sr.' - Photocall
Whenever someone asks me for my favorite gossip story, my go-to answer is Nicolas Cage’s extreme spending, because it’s not a well known story and it’s easy to tell. (I prefer the more scandalous gossip, but everyone knows about Tiger, Jesse James and Tom Cruise et al.)

We heard in 2009 that Cage owed $6 million in back taxes, which he promptly blamed and sued his former money manager for. It turned out that Cage lived an insane, nearly unimaginable lifestyle. At the time he owned 15 homes (including several castles in Europe), four yachts, an island, a jet and millions in cars, art, jewelry and pets. He would buy a top of the line luxury vehicle about once a month, and he owned and displayed exotic pets, including snakes which were so deadly that the antidote hung nearby. Cage would also throw “Gatsby-style parties,” that would run into the morning and include amenities like fake snow, professionally lit displays, and ice carved into serving tables. The Daily Beast had an excellent article in 2009 which detailed Cage’s spending following the news that he was necessarily downsizing.

That’s what came to mind when I heard that Robert De Niro, too, owed over $6 million in back taxes. That’s more money than most people will see in their lifetimes and it sounds like willful neglect, but De Niro has a good excuse: the IRS notices were being delivered to an old address where no one was picking up the mail. De Niro’s rep claims that his client had a check for that amount hand delivered the moment he found out about his debt – from the press:

In response to a report that the Oscar-winning actor had been hit with a $6.4 million tax lien, De Niro’s rep assured that the outstanding government tab was just the result of the Internal Revenue Service sending paperwork to the wrong address.

“IRS notifications of taxes due had been sent to an old address, currently an unoccupied commercial building,” the rep said in a statement obtained by E! News Friday. “Once Mr. De Niro learned of this tax delinquency, he had a check for the full amount hand-delivered to their office yesterday.”

And how did De Niro learn that he still owed Uncle Sam big bucks?

He saw the media reports about it, of course.

According to the notice filed Feb. 3 with the New York City Department of Finance and obtained by the Smoking Gun, De Niro’s debt stemmed from the 1040 he filed for his 2013 income taxes and was lodged three months ago. The wrong address in question was a Tribeca condominium building that De Niro and his real estate partners developed.

[From E! Online]

That’s so scary to me, that all of a sudden you’ll get a notice from the IRS and whoops, you owe a ton of money and it’s too late to make it right. It’s like some House of Sand and Fog nightmare. I guess in De Niro’s case it was easily remedied, but it still had to sting. It’s not like we hear about De Niro living like a king and ignoring his responsibilities. He does have some other things in common with Cage, though. They both have starred in some excellent and some pretty sh*tty movies.

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Robert De Niro attends a photocall for 'Remembering the Artist Robert De Niro, Sr.'

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45 Responses to “Robert De Niro found out from the press that he owed $6.4 million in taxes”

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  1. maria says:

    I don’t understand why you would feel the need to live and spend (waste) money like Cage. 14 homes? Poisonous snakes? Cars worth millions? What can it possible give you? (except a bankruptcy)

    • Bridget says:

      Because he is insane but masks it as “eccentric”. The spending, the weird expensive “collections” and obsessions… he lost touch with reality a long time ago. Remember when he and Patricia Arquette broke up but still pretended they were married for years?

    • FingerBinger says:

      At one time Nic Cage was making $20 million a movie. He indulged every whim by buying comic books and Elvis memorabilia. He spent that money because he could.

      • maria says:

        I still don’t understand why you spend money just because you can….But I’m the kind of person who hates having things I have no use for lying around. Maybe that has something to do with it 🙂

      • Bridget says:

        It’s actually quite interesting when you break that down. $20 million – which then pays taxes (which at that bracket is easily a third of the money), manager, agent, various other expenses (lawyer, trainer, accountant, etc) and he probably actually took home around $7 million. Which is still a lot, but not nearly as much as $20 million. Then think about it: 15 houses and castles, of which you have a purchase price, taxes, maintenance & upkeep & any repairs. A luxury car a month. His weird collections. Other shopping for him and his wife. That money goes FAST.

      • Noella says:

        bloody hell.. I’ve considered going into acting for the money (wrong reasons.. i know, i have no regrets) but have several issues: a) I can’t act b) I’m black = probably won’t get paid half of that.

  2. Kiddo says:

    “Once Mr. De Niro learned of this tax delinquency, he had a check for the full amount hand-delivered to their office yesterday.”

    WOW. Imagine having a 6.4 million dollar check at the ready?

    He looks so worn and feeble in that top shot, how old is he?

    • Bridget says:

      I was thinking the same thing. That is a ton to have lying around in liquid assets – and he must have more because I cannot imagine that he would have completely emptied his accounts.

      And am I the only one that finds it weird that he immediately paid and didnt do any negotiating with the federal government? That $6.4 million must have also included penalties.

      • Kiddo says:

        Maybe that was already negotiated down?

      • Ashley says:

        Penalties I’m sure related to missed deadlines to pay if notices were sent to the wrong address

      • Green Girl says:

        I wouldn’t be surprised to learn many (but not all!) people pay bills to the IRS upfront and right away, as long as it’s for a reasonable amount.

        I would also be willing to bet De Niro consulted his accountants to determine if this was an accurate amount.

      • Bridget says:

        If he delivered a check as soon as he found out about the delinquency, there wouldn’t have been time for negotiations. And there HAD to have been penalties in that figure, since they start to accrue as soon as the payment is delinquent and the percentage gets higher the longer the payment is late. It could have easily been a couple million dollars in this case.

      • lunchcoma says:

        I’m sure he had his lawyers and his accountants verify it was the correct amount. He’s extraordinarily wealthy, though. From his point of view, it’s probably worth it to make this go away as quickly as possible and to ensure that this story only hits the news once and will be perceived as the accident it probably was by anyone who reads it.

      • Jenna says:

        If he were to contest/negotiate, wouldn’t the IRS then also go over his previous year’s returns with a fine-toothed comb? I’m not saying DeNiro is actively engaging in tax fraud, but…the fact that this came up in the first place suggests that his accountant/money manager missed something when figuring out what taxes he had owing. Who knows what else they have missed that hasn’t come to IRS attention yet? If I were DeNiro, I’d probably just settle ASAP to avoid having the IRS turn up any more errors…then hire someone privately to go over the books and get everything scrubbed up!

      • Addison says:

        I never understood that. Why are people allowed to negotiate taxes. Those of us who have our taxes taken out every week or two don’t ever get to negotiate. It seems unfair. I know I do not make anywhere near millions of dollars.

        Anyone know?

      • lunchcoma says:

        Addison, sometimes people get in a position where they might be able to pay back the original bill over time, but where interest and penalties have accumulated to an extent where it’s not even possible for the person to pay back the entire bill. When people get into that situation, it’s common for them to stop even trying. Waiving some of the penalties at least gets people communicating with the agency again instead of trying to avoid it and gets them started making payments. Is it completely fair? No. Does it get the IRS more money than it otherwise would be able to collect? Generally, yes.

    • I Choose Me says:

      I know right? Must be nice.

      I think he’s sixty something.

      • Kiddo says:

        In that photo he looks older and rundown, right?

      • WardLittell says:

        Oi, he’s 72 this year, and no facelift. In my dotage meself, I still see Travis Bickle in Bob. My Italian lover! 😉

    • mimif says:

      That is thef ace of a man who was just handed a delinquent $6.4 million tax bill. Oof.

    • Pepsi Presents...Coke says:

      71. I recently watched The Mission

    • Pepsi Presents...Coke says:

      71. I recently watched The Mission which is about 30 years old and, yeah, it was 30 years ago.

  3. Tiffany says:

    DiNiro is worth hundreds of millions. I am surprised it was that low. Well, he cut a check and got it taken care of. Sooo…non story?

    • Ashley says:

      Probably low because it wasn’t intentional and was due to a isolated error. Most of the time those hit with extremely large bills/fines are actively trying to defraud the government.

    • lunchcoma says:

      I’m sure his overall tax bill is much higher than that. It sounds like this $6 million is the amount of the error. He’s been famous my entire life and I’ve never heard anything about him being dishonest or irresponsible with money (relative to his income), so I suspect he was horrified.

    • Bridget says:

      Because you don’t get taxed on your net worth every single year, you’re taxed on the income that you make in that year. So chances are he didn’t make those hundreds of millions of dollars in one single year, and don’t forget that his Tribeca Film Institute probably represents a significant write off.

  4. Krista says:

    This nearly happened to me a few years ago. The IRS thought I owed them X-thousand dollars and gave me 30 days to prove that I didn’t or pay up. It was an error on their part, but it scared the crap out of me. What if I was away and missed their letter!

  5. Veronica says:

    1. In a rare case, I actually buy that this may not be intentional, especially since he paid up. But oh man, I’d love to have $6.4 million lying around.

    2. I completely forgot he was married to Grace Hightower. (From ’97, too!)

  6. nicegirl says:

    I am wondering, who is that beautiful woman with him??

  7. Jackson says:

    Ugh. House of Sand and Fog. Do NOT watch this movie if you are depressed in any way, shape, or form. And wow, DeNiro cutting a $6.4 mill check just like that. It’s good to be the king, eh?

  8. lucy2 says:

    Sounds like an honest mistake and good for him for having the funds to take care of it right away.
    What on earth did he make and owe to have that big a debt and no one caught it right away? Hmm, we seem to have a few extra million laying around this year!
    Nicolas Cage’s spending habits are insane.

    • jen2 says:

      He owns or co-owns successful (like Tribeca Grill and Nobu) restaurants around the world, so that might be one source of massive yearly income, so I think he is comfortable even if he does not act much anymore. But sure the amount he paid was what was negotiated with the Feds.

  9. anne_000 says:

    I’m thinking this means that RDN and his accountant(s) didn’t update his tax address to the IRS for some years.

    Of course the IRS is sending notices to the address that they were given by RDN and his accountants. And then…when you don’t accept mail from there anymore….you let the IRS know your current address…because YOU know that you’ve moved your mailing address…BECAUSE that’s the ONLY way the IRS would know that you won’t accept mail from there anymore. DUH.

    I blame this on RDN for being sloppy like that.

    • Hum says:

      Yeah its clear he knows he’s responsible which is why he paid it as soon as he found out

  10. WardLittell says:

    Thanks CB for a bitlet on de Niro, I never see stuff anywhere! Every little helps, for a fan. 🙂

  11. boredblond says:

    The irs never sends a letter to him or his accountant? If they think you made a small error, they are relentless..I got registered mail from them for five years over something..finally got a letter saying, well, you were right..sorry. I bet this was not a surprise to his accountant or his people who shield him from real world problems.

  12. belle de jour says:

    I always admired Robert De Niro for helping to make sure the Tribeca Film Festival still got going – in that particular NYC neighborhood – especially after 9/11.

  13. Angel says:

    These “So-and-so owes a lot of taxes” stories are usually mistakes. They get a lot of coverage but really, you think any of these people are at home with their receipts filling out their returns checking what they can deduct? It’s always the accountant or the business manager being lazy, stupid or trying to swindle something. Worst thing is the star get the bad press. I believe all kinds of crazy BS about stars, and I don’t usually give them the benefit of the doubt – except for taxes:)

  14. MrsBPitt says:

    UGH…Putting DiNiro and that hack, Nicolas Cage in the same sentence is just wrong!!!!! I know, I know, NC has an Oscar (that just goes to show you how stupid the Academy can be sometimes)…NC is a terrible actor…the only one who should have won an award for Leaving Las Vegas was Elisabeth Shue…Cage is the same in every movie…plus, he is a nut!!!!!

  15. Dinah says:

    How (if at all) does this impact the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival?

  16. Kathy says:

    I call bs on this. IRS does not release taxpayer info unless you’ve gone all the way to tax court and it becomes a matter of public record. So I find it impossible to believe that he didn’t know he owed the taxes.