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Updated: Oct 29, 2023

In 1990, Tate Claude George became known for making miraculous last-second shot during an NCAA basketball game, claiming victory for the University of Connecticut. Unfortunately for George, it seems like his status peaked in college. Today, the former NBA player is best known for missing shots, especially when it comes to finances, investing, and taxes. 

After a brief career with the NBA, George went on to found The George Group, a real estate development firm in New Jersey. George was able to attract business thanks to his reputation as a basketball player and, according to the Department of Justice, proceeded to steal $2 million form his investors. In September of 2013, George was accused of fraud and operating a Ponzi scheme. He surrendered to authorities and was ultimately sentenced to nine years in prison. 

The story doesn't end there, because while incarcerated, George failed to file a 2013 tax return. In 2013, George received a pension distribution of $208,111 from the NBA. Because George didn't file his taxes, the IRS took it upon themselves to file the return for him. The IRS determined that George had an unpaid tax balance of $28,696 and owed almost $9,000 in additional fees. 

After seeing the IRS's calculations, George appealed. He claimed that due to his incarceration, he was unable to collect the documentation that would have shown he was entitled to itemized deductions that would have been more than the $6,100 standard deduction the IRS gave him. However, the tax court records noted that George did not state what those deductions might have been. 

Judge James Halpern wasn't persuaded by George's claims and ruled against the ex-NBA player in fall of 2019. Halpern wrote that "the mere fact that [George] was incarcerated when his return was due is not reasonable cause for his failure to file timely."

Being in the big house doesn't excuse citizens of their responsibility to file their tax returns, and failing to file your taxes essentially waives your right to itemize deductions. 

The NBA has not confirmed whether or not George is still receiving pension, as player pension information is confidential. But if he is, we hope George remembers to file his taxes on time this year.

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