Rev. Al Sharpton Owes Millions in Back Taxes – Truth! & Disputed!

Rev. Al Sharpton Owes Millions in Back Taxes – Truth! & Disputed!

Summary of eRumor:
Social commentator and civil rights advocate the Rev. Al Sharpton and his for-profit business interests owe $4.5 million in delinquent tax payments.
The Truth:
It’s true that the Rev. Al Sharpton and his for-profit businesses owe federal and state taxes, but the amount owed is in dispute.

The eRumor surfaced after the New York Times published a story in November of 2014 that claimed Sharpton and his for-profit businesses owned millions in back taxes:

“Mr. Sharpton has regularly sidestepped the sorts of obligations most people see as inevitable, like taxes, rent and other bills. Records reviewed by The New York Times show more than $4.5 million in current state and federal tax liens against him and his for-profit businesses.”

The Times also took aim at the finances of the National Action Network, the non-profit advocacy group headed by Sharpton. The report said the group owed more than $1 million in outstanding taxes in 2009, even as Sharpton collected a $250,000 salary. The $1 million owed by the National Action Network was not included in the reported $4.5 million owed by Sharpton and his for-profit businesses.

At issue is whether or not the National Action Network failed to pay federal payroll taxes, according to Forbes:

“The National Action Network kept up with the ‘growth’ by paying bills using payroll tax money: in other words, money that was collected from employees to be submitted, along with an employer contribution, to the tax authorities.”

Sharpton blasted the Times report said in a press conference that outdated documents were used to make “absolutely inaccurate” claims. Sharpton said that he and the National Action Network could pay off their balances “in one day” — but couldn’t afford to pay penalties and interest on it, CNN reports:

“(Sharpton said) that the $4.5 million was the original figure he was ordered to pay back in 2008, but that he has been making regular payments since then and the amount is now less.”

The reports came as Sharpton took a leadership role in unrest that surfaced over the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the strangling death of Eric Gardner in New York City. Sharpton argued during the press conference that reports on his alleged back taxes could be politically motivated:

“I think it’s political. A lot of people don’t like the fact that President Obama is the president. A lot of people don’t like the fact that Bill de Blasio won for mayor. And they certainly don’t like the fact that I’m still here, and I ain’t going nowhere … I have not owed a dime in current taxes or in National Action Network taxes since President Obama or de Blasio has been in office,” Sharpton said, pounding his hand for emphasis.”