Last week, Lauryn Hill became the latest musician to face a tax evasion charge, as TMZ reported, she failed to file three years’ worth of tax returns. Hill, however, being who she is, did not keep quiet about the allegations, and late Friday, she (or her publicist, at least) posted an official statement on her Tumblr page responding to not only the reports, but also her three-year removal from the public eye (“in order to wean both [herself], and [her] family, away from a lifestyle that required distortion and compromise as a means for maintaining it”), from 2005-2007, in general (via E!).
In the lengthy (1,252 words!) statement, Hill explains that her refusal to pay taxes during those years stemmed from her desire to operate outside “a media-protected military industrial complex with a completely different agenda” from her own. She says that she retreated in 2005 because of “slanted and inaccurate” information from “those who had become dependent on my creative force, yet unwilling to fully acknowledge the importance of my contribution, nor compensate me equitably for it.” She cites a “climate of hostility, false entitlement, manipulation, racial prejudice, sexism and ageism” as yet further reasons for her departure. Instead of staying in the limelight, therefore, she “embraced [her] right to resist a system intentionally opposing [her] right to whole and integral survival” by more or less falling off the face of the planet for three years, living on what means she already had.
“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 writes, adding that, except for that period of political/artistic hermitage, she’s filed taxes every year. “I conveyed all of this when questioned as to why I did not file taxes during this time period,” she continued. “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.”
Nevertheless, Hill says she intends to “get this situation rectified,” which may, from a legal standpoint, involve a $300,000 fine and/or up to a three years of jail time (one for each count).