Grammy Award-winning singer Lauryn Hill claimed that she failed to file tax returns or pay taxes for three years because she was “underground” trying to build a community.
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The former member of the groundbreaking rap group, the Fugees, was charged last week by prosecutors with failing to pay taxes on more than $1.8 million in income for 2005, 2006 and 2007 (see Former Fugee Fails to File). Hill posted a lengthy explanation on Tumblr on Friday laying out her rationale.
“For the past several years, I have remained what others would consider underground,” she wrote. “I did this in order to build a community of people, like-minded in their desire for freedom and the right to pursue their goals and lives without being manipulated and controlled by a media protected military industrial complex with a completely different agenda. Having put the lives and needs of other people before my own for multiple years, and having made hundreds of millions of dollars for certain institutions, under complex and sometimes severe circumstances, I began to require growth and more equitable treatment, but was met with resistance.”
Hill embarked on a solo career in 1998 and released the Grammy-winning album, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” and began an acting career, appearing in the Whoopi Goldberg vehicle, “Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit,” in 1993. However, she has released relatively little music since her debut album and limited her public appearances in recent years.
“I kept my life relatively simple, even after huge successes, but it became increasingly obvious that certain indulgences and privileges were expected to come at the expense of my free soul, free mind, and therefore my health and integrity,” she wrote. “So I left a more mainstream and public life, in order to wean both myself, and my family, away from a lifestyle that required distortion and compromise as a means for maintaining it.”
Hill said she did not spend her money on expensive vacations or automobiles. “There were no exotic trips, no fleet of cars, just an all out war for safety, integrity, wholeness and health, without mistreatment denial, and/or exploitation,” she wrote. “In order to liberate myself from those who found it ok to oppose my wholeness, free speech and integral growth by inflicting different forms of punitive action against it, I used my resources to sustain our safety and survival until I was able to restore my ability to earn outside of it!”
Hill tried to explain her efforts to escape commercialization to the tax authorities, but to no avail. “I conveyed all of this when questioned as to why I did not file taxes during this time period,” she wrote. “Obviously, the danger I faced was not accepted as reasonable grounds for deferring my tax payments, as authorities, who despite being told all of this, still chose to pursue action against me, as opposed to finding an alternative solution. My intention has always been to get this situation rectified. When I was working consistently without being affected by the interferences mentioned above, I filed and paid my taxes. This only stopped when it was necessary to withdraw from society, in order to guarantee the safety and well-being of myself and my family.”
Hill hopes to straighten out her tax problems and eventually return to making music for her fans. “As this, and other areas of issue are resolved and set straight, I am able to get back to doing what I should be doing, the way it should be done,” she concluded. “This is part of that process. To those supporters who were told that I abandoned them, that is untrue. I abandoned greed, corruption, and compromise, never you, and never the artistic gifts and abilities that sustained me.”