Awhile back, I blogged the story of the Osbourne tax lien. Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, as you may recall, were smacked with a $1.7 million tax lien for tax troubles stemming from the years 2008 and 2009. Sharon Osbourne tweeted about the lien, blaming her financial advisors for her tax woes.

Unlike many of my colleagues who were quick to jump on the “they’re rich celebs so why won’t they pay their taxes” bandwagon, I sympathized with Mrs. Osbourne’s comments that her tax issues were the result of mistakes made by someone she paid to manage her financial affairs. This is something that I unfortunately see a lot of in my own practice: taxpayers who trust their bankers, accountants, lawyers, bookkeepers, financial advisors, (fill in the blank with your own story here) and find that trust misplaced for all manner of reasons. Sometimes it’s bad advice. Sometimes it’s a misunderstanding. Sometimes it’s inaction. The truth is that mistakes happen – from the rich and famous (like Nicolas Cage and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger) to the little guy – and it’s not always the case that it’s the taxpayer to blame.

All of that said, I was surprised to see Mrs. O tweet that matters had escalated over the weekend:

Just when we thought it was safe with the IRS, here they come again! This time their fault, not mine. Not taking this one laying down.

A minute later she followed up with:

Mine was a fuck up, yours was a “PROCEDURAL ERROR”. The bill has been paid, in fact I’m owed a rebate. Please send. Big Kiss, Mrs O

Mrs. O is referring in her tweets to a new IRS lien in the amount of $375,000 which was slapped on Britain’s second favorite family. She took to her talk show today to explain the whole tax debaucle, saying, “The last couple of years, I have really been concentrating on myself – because I think I love myself a little bit too much – and not taking care of business.”

Reportedly, she found out about the lien from the web site,, and not from her own people. That would certainly confirm the notion that she has surrounded herself with folks who are making her finances a priority, either purposefully so or for other reasons. She said about her accountant, “He did say he’s to blame, but I’m to blame because I didn’t care enough. I was too involved in myself. I canceled two meetings with him over the last 18 months because I was way too busy. And the bottom line is it stops with me. So I have to face up, be a big woman and realize I’m not Mrs. Wonderful.”

It’s a lesson fit for the Prince of Darkness (and family) as well as you and I.

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Kelly Erb is a tax attorney, tax writer and podcaster.

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