Grammy award-winning hip-hop artist Lauryn Hill was sentenced to three months in federal jail on Monday for not paying taxes on three-years of earnings, and she offered a surprising explanation for her misdeeds.
In court, Hill told the judge, “I am a child of former slaves who had a system imposed on them. I had an economic system imposed on me.” She said she planned to pay her taxes in due time, but was told citizens do not get to decide when to write a check to the IRS.
She also argued that, given how much money her music made for others, she lives quite modestly. “Someone did the math, and it came to around $600 million,” she said. “And I sit here before you trying to figure out how to pay a tax debt? If that’s not like enough to slavery, I don’t know.”
Hill earned more than $1.8 million from 2005 to 2007, but did not file tax returns during that time. She failed to pay both federal and state taxes in New Jersey.
She in scheduled to begin her prison term in July.