Terrence Howard Faces $903,115 Tax Bill Amidst Claims of Injustice and Slavery Legacy

The actor cited “Four hundred years of forced labor and never receiving any compensation for it,” as part of his decision to avoid paying his taxes.

Terrence Howard has racked up a mighty tab in unpaid taxes.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the "Empire" alum owes the government $903,115 for unpaid taxes accumulated between 2010 and 2019, as ruled by Philadelphia, U.S. District Judge John F. Murphy. 

That grand total also includes interest and penalties after he allegedly threatened Justice Department lawyer, Maria Elizabeth Ruwe. But Howard is standing ten toes down as he believes it's “immoral for the United States government to charge taxes to the descendants of slaves.”

Terrence Howard Claims Racist Bias and Underpayment in Lawsuit Against Former Agency

In November, the TV star denied owing taxes in an alleged voicemail that he left for Ruwe. During that message, he also threatened to publicly shame her by posting the lawsuit against him on the internet.

“Four hundred years of forced labor and never receiving any compensation for it,” said Howard in the voicemail. “Now you have the gall to try and prosecute and charge taxes to the descendants of a broken people that you are responsible for causing the breakage.”

“In truth, the entire United States should, by default, become the property of the descendants of slaves,” he continued. “But since you do not have the ability [or] the courage to do it, let’s try this in court. … We’re gonna bring you down.”

Ruwe said she reported Terrence's threats to the Justice Department security, which prompted an investigation. The results of that investigation are unknown.

Efforts to reach Howard in Chicago and California have been unsuccessful. Then in a turn of events, he was served with papers in 2023 while attending the Twin Cities Film Fest in St. Louis Park, Minnesota.

After that, the actor left another voicemail for Ruwe, while identifying the suit by its docket number, but he has not acknowledged or responded to the court in the three months that have followed since being served.

Judge Murphy said he had “more than sufficient detail” to demonstrate the court's attempts to reach out to the actor for the past 14 months.

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