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Sophia Loren cleared of almost 40-year-old tax evasion charge

Sophia_Loren_in_London_2009_courtesy_WikimediaSophia Loren, Italy's most renowned, honored and for moviegoers of a certain age hottest actress has been cleared of tax evasion charges after nearly 40 years.

You read that right. The 79-year-old actress was convicted of and served jail time on charges from 39 years ago that she did not pay taxes on some film earnings.

At issue was Loren's 1974 tax return. She declared less income to Italian tax authorities that filing year because, argued Loren, her compensation for work on Vittorio De Sica's The Voyage/Il Viaggio was deferred.

That payment arrangement dropped her into a lower tax bracket, allowing her to pay, according to Loren's calculations, taxes on 60 percent of her income. Italian tax officials, however, said Loren owed taxes on 70 percent of her film money that year.

The Academy Award winning (for 1961's Two Women, also directed by De Sica) actress appealed the tax ruling.

She also worked outside of her native Italy for several years during the tax dispute. But when Loren returned to her homeland in 1982, she served 17 days of a 30-day jail term in a minimum-security women's prison.

Loren, however, never gave up the tax fight. Her appeal of the tax evasion charge has been inching its way through the Italian justice system for nearly 40 years. And you thought the American court system was slow!

And now Loren is finally vindicated thanks to last week's Italian high court ruling that she was wrongly convicted of tax evasion.

Loren is as gracious as she is glamorous.

She called the ruling a "miracle of justice," adding that when "it seems there is no longer any hope, it is still possible justice will be done."

Appealing IRS findings: U.S. taxpayers, remember that like Loren you, too, can appeal Internal Revenue Service findings with which you disagree.

Your best bet in any conflict with the IRS is to hire a tax professional who's experienced in handling such cases.

You can read about taxpayer appeals in IRS Publication 5, Your Appeal Rights and How to Prepare a Protest If You Don't Agree; Publication 556, Examination of Returns, Appeal Rights and Claims for Refunds; and Publication 1660, Collection Appeal Rights (for Liens, Levies and Seizures).

Loren then and now: If you're unfamiliar with Loren's roles, you can check out some of her early film work in a box set issued in 2008. I'm not a Netflix subscriber, but I suspect you can find those movies and Loren's later award winning performances at that entertainment site.

And for younger readers looking for a modern connection, Loren is the mother-in-law of TNT television's Rizzoli and Isles actress Sasha Alexander.

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Donny @ Personal Income

40 years is a very long time to have a tax evasion charge. I wonder how many years she have stressed over trying to get the charge removed.

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