Ruben Studdard owes $171,920 in taxes

American Idol 2 winner Ruben Studdard owes the federal government $171,920 in taxes, and “also owes $21,730 in state income taxes,” The Birmingham Business Journal reports. Liens have been placed on his property by state and federal authorities as a result.

The paper reports that his “unpaid taxes stem from 2003, the year he won American Idol, and a $1 million recording contract. He owes $19,581 in state income taxes and $163,836 in federal taxes for the period ended Dec. 31, 2003, court records show.”

One reality show winner is already in jail for not paying taxes (Survivor‘s Richard Hatch), so will Ruben join him? Byron Perkins, Ruben’s lawyer, told the Birmingham News, “Ruben is doing well. We think he’ll probably be able to take care of this.”

Ruben has promised to invest a six-figure amount in a Birmingham nightclub that will be named after him (it’ll be in the same area as a club named for Taylor Hicks), and the developer, John Elkington, told the paper that Ruben has “some explaining to do. … Ruben’s is a money problem. You can always solve that somehow.”

Idol winner Studdard faces nearly $200,000 in tax liens [Birmingham Business Journal]
‘American Idol’ winner Ruben Studdard owes more than $193,000 in back taxes [Birmingham News]

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.