Actor Terrence Howard ordered to pay nearly $1M in back taxes

Terrence Howard

PHILADELPHIA — Actor Terrence Howard was ordered by a federal judge to pay nearly $1 million in back taxes, interest and penalties after the Academy Award nominee allegedly threatened a Justice Department attorney and said it was “immoral for the United States government to charge taxes to the descendants of slaves.”

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U.S. District Judge John F. Murphy for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled in favor of the U.S. government on Feb. 22, assessing a $903,114.72 judgment against Howard, 54, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The assessment covers taxes owed, interest and penalties on income tax returns for the 2010, 2011, 2016, 2017 and 2019 tax years, the entertainment news website reported.

That includes interest accrued through December 2023.

Howard, who was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his role DJay in the 2005 movie “Hustle & Flow,” has only made one response since the Justice Department sued him in 2022, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The actor, also noted for his role as Lucious Lyon on the Fox drama “Empire,” allegedly left a voicemail on the phone of the case’s lead tax attorney in November 2022, according to the newspaper.

The transcript of the text message, which was included in court filings, alleged that Howard denied owing any money and threatened the attorney with shaming her by posting the lawsuit filed against him on the internet.

“Four hundred years of forced labor and never receiving any compensation for it,” Howard actor said in the message, according to the Inquirer. “Now you have the gall to try and prosecute and charge taxes to the descendants of a broken people that you are responsible for causing the breakage.”

Howard was cut off during his message, but called back and continued his complaint, according to the newspaper.

“In truth, the entire United States should, by default, become the property of the descendants of slaves,” Howard allegedly said. “But since you do not have the ability [or] the courage to do it, let’s try this in court. … We’re gonna bring you down.”

Efforts to reach Howard at a number he left on that voicemail were unsuccessful, the Inquirer reported.

Accusations of failure by Howard to pay taxes have followed him during his career.

State tax liens totaling nearly $639,000 were filed against Howard’s 2,450-square-foot property in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, in 2005 and 2006, the Inquirer reported.

According to court records, both cases were later settled.

The IRS hit Howard with a lien for $1.1 million on the same property when Howard did not pay income taxes in 2007 and 2008, according to the newspaper.

In 2019, Howard was assessed with a lien by the State of California Franchise Tax Board, Deadline reported. Officials alleged that Howard owed $144,000 dating back to 2010.

Howard was named on California’s list of the 500 large tax delinquencies, at $256,000 tab, according to the Inquirer.

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