Terrence Howard Faces $1M Tax Bill, Cites Ancestry in Defense

Actor's Tax Dispute Highlights Broader Social Justice Debate.

by Nouman Rasool
Terrence Howard Faces $1M Tax Bill, Cites Ancestry in Defense
© Kevin Winter/Getty Images

In a striking development, Terrence Howard, the acclaimed actor renowned for his roles in "Empire," "Crash," and "Hustle & Flow," has been mandated by a federal judge in Philadelphia to settle a substantial debt amounting to nearly $1 million in back taxes, including penalties and interest.

The order, as reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer, underscores a contentious debate surrounding the actor's refusal to pay $578,000 in income taxes accrued from 2010 to 2019. Howard, 54, whose residence was last recorded in Plymouth Meeting, has been in a prolonged standoff with the IRS, leading to a legal battle initiated by the Justice Department in 2022.

The case took a dramatic turn when Howard, in a voicemail to the lead tax attorney of the case, vehemently contested the charges. He argued that it was "immoral for the United States government to charge taxes to the descendants of slaves," referencing the historical injustice of 400 years of uncompensated forced labor.

The actor's impassioned plea underscored a broader societal discourse on reparations and the legacy of slavery in America.

Reparations Movement Grows

Howard's stance on the issue is emblematic of a growing movement advocating for reparations.

This movement has seen cities across the United States, including Boston, San Francisco, and New York, establishing task forces to probe into the nation's historical ties to slavery. Notably, Evanston, Illinois, emerged as a pioneer by adopting a reparations plan that commits $10 million over a decade to its Black residents.

This movement has even reached the federal level, with proposed resolutions acknowledging the United States' "legal and moral obligation" to implement reparations. Despite Howard's fervent defense and the broader call for reparative justice, the actor did not formally respond to the lawsuit, leading to a default judgment against him.

This legal outcome highlights the complex interplay between individual responsibilities and the collective quest for historical redress and equity. Howard's case and comments have thus become a focal point in the ongoing national conversation about reparations, justice, and the legacy of slavery in America, reflecting the deep divisions and unresolved issues that continue to shape the country's discourse.