Actor Stephen Baldwin has been arrested on a charge of Repeated Failure to File Personal Income Tax Returns, a class “E” Felony, according to Rockland County District Attorney Thomas P. Zugibe and New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Thomas H. Mattox.
Baldwin, 46, a resident of Upper Grandview in Rockland County, is accused of failing to file New York State Personal Income Tax Returns for years 2008, 2009 and 2010. In total, Baldwin’s tax liability to the State of New York, including penalties and interests, is more than $350,000.
“At a time when Rockland County and New York State face severe fiscal shortfalls, we cannot afford to allow wealthy residents to break the law by cheating on their taxes," Zugibe said. "The defendant's repetitive failure to file returns and pay taxes over a period of several years contributes to the sweeping cutbacks and closures in local government and in our schools. My Office will continue to investigate and prosecute those who cheat our tax system for their personal gain.”
Baldwin's lawyer, Russell Yankwitt of White Plains, said today that Baldwin should not have been arrested. He contends Baldwin did not commit a crime and that efforts are underway to resolve the tax issue.
Baldwin’s arrest was the result of an investigation conducted by the Rockland County Special Investigations Unit and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.
“I commend District Attorney Zugibe for his ongoing efforts to investigate and bring to justice those individuals who attempt to avoid paying taxes," Mattox said. "It is rare and unfortunate for a personal income tax case to require such strong enforcement measures in order to ensure compliance with our tax laws, particularly in light of the fact that the vast majority of New Yorkers fulfill their filing requirements voluntarily. The Tax Department works diligently with taxpayers to address issues before they escalate, and we strongly encourage those that have difficulties meeting their obligations to contact us for assistance.”
The Baldwin was arraigned today in Nyack Village Court before Judge Robert Knoebel and released pending a Feb. 5, 2013 hearing.
Baldwin faces up to four years in state prison, if convicted
Mattox said the New York State Tax Department offers programs such as the Voluntary Disclosure and Compliance Program to encourage delinquent taxpayers to become compliant without facing criminal prosecution or civil penalty.