Lady Gaga’s Assistant Blows the Whistle on Tax Practices

Posted on Feb 27, 2013

In the entertainment world, a celebrity simply isn’t a celebrity unless she has a retinue of personal assistants, who are on call at all hours to run errands. Now, according to BuzzFeed, one disgruntled personal assistant is threatening to bring the whole edifice crumbling to the ground by filing a lawsuit against her former employer, pop star Lady Gaga.

In her suit, Jennifer O’Neill claims she accumulated a whopping 7,000 hours of unpaid overtime in the years she worked for Lady Gaga. What really bothers industry insiders, though, is that O’Neill has called attention to the common practice of celebrities paying their personal assistants in cash, rather than on a salary. What this means is the responsibility for paying taxes on this income falls midway between the star and her assistant, with the result that taxes often are underpaid or not paid at all. (For the record, O’Neill made about $75,000 per year, which is slightly above average for this kind of work.)

To quote from the BuzzFeed story, “Thousands of Hollywood assistants are paid in cash, meaning neither the employer nor employee pays taxes. If a high-profile case sheds light on this practice, it could mean more regulation—and less cash—for celebrities and assistants alike. [Says Brian Daniel, founder of the Celebrity Personal Assistant Network], ‘The city of LA is bankrupt, so when the sirens go off, it’s like the mob. They really don’t want attention drawn to us.’”

Are you an Oklahoma resident (and not necessarily a celebrity’s personal assistant) who is being hounded by the IRS for unpaid taxes? Contact the tax experts at Travis W. Watkins, PC (800-721-7054) to find out what we can do for you!

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