Will Smith’s advice on taxes: Pay them!

| 19/02/2018 | 46 Comments
Cayman News Service, Will Smith

Will Smith jokes around with local Cayman pan players, Pandemix (source YouTube)

(CNS): “Pay your taxes,” Hollywood legend Will Smith advised Cayman Islands hedge fund professionals at the Cayman Alternative Investment Summit this month. Reflecting on the very early days of his career after his first hit records when he fell foul of the US tax authorities, leaving the ‘Fresh Prince’ flat broke again, Smith told the gathering, typically more concerned with eliminating tax through offshore vehicles, that the one thing worse than having no money was having money and then seeing the IRS take it.

Between the age of 17 and 19, while still in high school, Smith earned $2.6 million from his early rap music hits, but his “recklessness” and disregard for the tax code saw that bank balance quickly disappear.

“I didn’t forget to pay the IRS, but I did neglect to send them their part,” Smith told the laughing audience at the Kimpton Seafire resort. “You’ve all heard a lot of financial advice today, but this is the big one: Pay your taxes or the IRS will take your stuff!” he said.

Interviewed by Chris Duggan, Vice President of Dart Enterprises Ltd, a major sponsor for the 2-day conference, Smith said he was compelled to find another way to earn money, as a lack of album sales meant the record company wasn’t looking to make another one.

Smith said he took to hanging around at the Arsenio Hall Show, standing outside every day. A chance meeting there with NBC music executive Benny Medina, described as the real life Fresh Prince of Bel Air, who would go on to be Smith’s manager, as well as other stars like Jennifer Lopez, resulted in a fortuitous invitation to legendary music producer Quincy Jones’ birthday party.

At the party, Smith got the chance to audition for the lead role in a TV show that Medina and Jones were working on. Despite having no acting experience, everyone loved his reading and six weeks later Smith was shooting The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, which would make him a household name and put him on the path to movie stardom.

Turning 50 this year, Smith reminisced about the movie Independence Day, which was his first real big-time success, recalling a 3:00am call from his father, who had just woken up on the East Coast and seen the news of the box office sales which would propel his son into the ranks of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

“Remember I told you there’s no such thing as luck,” his father told him. “Well, that’s bullshit. You are the luckiest MF I know.”

Smith also fondly remembered his churchgoing grandmother, who, years before he hit the big time, once found his rap book, full of street language, and made an entry saying, “Dear Willard. Truly intelligent people do not need to use these words.”

Driven by the desire to make his grandmother proud, Smith was making rap records without swear words at the height of hip hop group N.W.A.’s fame.

“The heat I took for being soft and corny was nothing to having my grandma upset, so I was aggressive in defending the idea of trying to improve lives with my music,” Smith said.

That thread continued throughout his life and influenced how he would choose his roles in future films, culminating in The Pursuit of Happyness, where he played a single father opposite his son, Jaden. “My mission statement has always been to improve lives. I always want to have that messaging component,” he said.

Smith’s appearance at the Cayman Alternative Investment Summit brought the two-day conference to a close and followed past years of bringing celebrities to Cayman, including Arnold Schwarzenegger and Al Pacino.

The more serious business of deliberating the state of global economic investment markets and the role of Cayman Islands funds had this year been focused on the rise of technology and in particular artificial intelligence, which last year became one of the biggest trends for the international finance community.

In a throwback to Will Smith’s 2004 hit movie I, Robot, the conference featured an interview with an incredibly lifelike robot named Sophia.

Developed by Hong Kong-based firm Hanson Robotics, Sophia was activated in 2015 and as well as being able to respond with speech, including some funny quips and quite sophisticated language, she has over 60 facial expressions. The interview conducted by KPMG’s Jon Cohen was a high point in the conference.

Artificial intelligence is expected to grow into a $100 billion-plus industry within the next seven years and its future will potentially see the majority of human jobs replaced by machines.

While near-term applications such as driverless cars and improvements in search machine algorithms are happening right now, some experts believe the future of AI is fraught with danger and the risk of human extinction as the machines eventually get cleverer and smarter than we are – a scenario notably played out in Hollywood blockbusters like The Terminator and I, Robot.

Tags: , ,

Category: Business, Financial Services, Local News

Comments (46)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    The comments here are hitting new lows.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Has nothing to do with Christianity, its call being decent and having good habits.

    2
    3
    • Anonymous says:

      The point to which you failed to reply was the 4.14pm post I assume. You missed the point that was being made there. It was “arbitrary moral policing” to which the post referred Christians love that, usually on the basis of variant of the “The Bible Tells Me So”.

  3. Gray Matter says:

    These people are idiots…. Listening to an entertainer give them financial advise! ??Give Will Smith a big hand, paid vacation and fee and a tax write off. ” Pay your Taxes”. ??????????.

    CNS: Let’s be fair. The audience was not there to get financial advice but to be entertained.

    12
    5
    • Anonymous says:

      Now who is the idiot here? Someone who cannot spell “advice”, over-uses emojis which are really only for 14 year old kids and sexting and who obviously has never been a delegate at this sort of conference. Or the attendees who have obviously successful careers and a dinner at which a leading entertainer was entertaining? When was the last dinner you attended at which Will Smith was present? Probably when you ate Mac and Cheese in a plastic bowl when Men in Black was on cable.

      PS It ought to be “Grey Matter”, Gray is a surname not a colour when one is in British territory.

      6
      8
  4. Anonymous says:

    Why pay the government tax money when you can pay in thoughts and prayers these days.

    8
    5
  5. G.T. says:

    He can talk now because he has the money

    8
    2
  6. Anonymous says:

    CNS, your audience is mixed, with many expat workers such as I in the finance industry. In this day and age, and with the kind of transparency and compliance that Cayman has signed up for and is leading in many cases, I would have trusted you to talked to Jude Scott or someone about Cayman’s role in the financial industry. The majority of business here is from the US. If you want “to eliminate tax” then you go to Maryland, Nevada or Puerto Rico. You don’t get to eliminate tax here, and I don’t think inaccurate comments like yours are helpful to half your readership or Cayman in general. The latest changes to tax laws in the US make it even more impossible for any US company to trade here without tax implications, although I haven’t come across a client for a while who wasn’t signed up to tax declare in the US. Please support your law abiding islands and industry don’t pander to the misconceptions that the ignorants perpetuate. Damn, you can’t even open a bank account these days without having to give up your first born.

    CNS: What on earth are you talking about? Your comment has no relation whatsoever with the article. But to try and tackle whatever it is you’re trying to say, CNS did not interview Will Smith; the CNS writer was covering an event in which Will Smith, an actor and comedian, was being interviewed. He made the audience laugh by telling them about how he got caught not paying his taxes in the US. Although it took place at the Alternative Investment Summit, he was clearly the entertainment, talking about his colourful career – there is nothing in this to suggest he was talking about investing in the Cayman fund industry.

    I would have expected someone working in the finance industry to have better comprehension and grammar skills. What is it that you do exactly?

    15
    6
    • Anonymous says:

      CNS- are these your words or Mr Smith’s- “, Smith told the gathering, typically more concerned with eliminating tax through offshore vehicles……” At least a half hearted attempt to disparage the offshore industry? I was not talking about his words, but yours.

      CNS: Good grief.

      8
      1
    • Charles Darwin says:

      Where is that LOL button when you need it! CNS you blew them out of the water thanks for a good chuckle. Narcissistic expat got their nose stuck a lil too high in the sky to see the article in front of them.

      12
      4
      • Anonymous says:

        Never been a stupid comment by a Caymanian? Seen plenty…let’s face it we all screw up sometimes, regardless of where you are from.

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh lawdy CNS I was thinking the same thing with the grammar AND comprehension of this expat in the finance industry… LOL I thought maybe he/she meant to post on a different article.
      *facepalm

      8
      3
    • Anonymous says:

      I was puzzled by the comments (2:24) and actually glanced back at the article to see whether or not I had missed something. CNS, your response is great, but the last two sentences were not necessary.

      14
      2
    • Anonymous says:

      The final comments seems misplaced. The post was clearly written by an intelligent person who uses complex sentence constructions. The grammar seems far above the average seen on CNS.

  7. West bay Premier says:

    Will Smith has convinced these Politicians to put more Taxes on you the People of the C.I . So look out you have more Taxes coming , because these Politicians believes people like Will Smith and not the people who vote for them .

    1
    15
    • E. Nygma says:

      Did you even read the article, or understand the venue he was speaking at?
      It was the “Cayman Alternative Investment Summit” not the “Cayman Residential Fees and Duties Summit”

      The whole “better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt” has never been more true than this instance
      The PPM has already finalized the budget for 2018/2019 and touted that their would be no new fees or duties

      Unless you are somehow claiming that you have a crystal ball and can see 2 years into the future

      21
      3
    • Anonymous says:

      WBP, you really are quite gormless.

      5
      2
    • Anonymous says:

      What a maroon!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Haw much was he paid to come to the Cayman Islands?

    13
    6
  9. Trapper John MD says:

    Get Chiggy with it stop abusing Cayman where those arriving here are carrying the game while Caymanians are getting the blame. Pay your friggin taxes like the man said

    8
    3
  10. Anonymous says:

    It makes me laugh when you see Hollywood actors , who just do make-believe , being the sages of worldly advice to intelligent & educated people. Go back to L.A., Will.

    20
    19
  11. Anonymous says:

    You are so right Will. Anyone who has to resort to filthy language whether in spoken or written words needs to go back to school to improve their vocabulary.

    26
    6
    • Anonymous says:

      STFU

      12
      11
    • Anonymous says:

      Nonsense. I have a XXXXing huge vocabulary. No words express certain sentiments as XXXX. It’s place as a intensifier is unique in English where on it is or inserted into other words (a construction that is close to being unique to English which is abso-xxxxing-lutely wonderful).

      17
      9
      • Anonymous says:

        You not only have a limited vocabulary, you are also a dimwit. Need to bleach out your yabba.

        5
        15
        • Anonymous says:

          I concur with the poster who supported the special value of XXXX and its role in modern English. I studied English at Cambridge. I have a XXXXing enormous vocabulary. Only the dull and witless trot out such inane clichés as stating that swearing is indicative of a limited vocabulary. Read “The F Word” by Jesse Sheidlower for a good history of this vital little word. Until then, XXXXity-bye.

          16
          4
          • Anonymous says:

            Don’t think you attended Cambridge, didn’t even work for Cambridge real estate. If you could ever get into Cambridge university and write so much rubbish I am sure the people at cambridge would wonder ” why did we let him in” ” we should have given the placement to that other person”

            1
            6
      • Anonymous says:

        A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

    • Anonymous says:

      When you say “filthy language”, I suspect you mean what is traditionally known as swear or curse words. In my opinion, there is no such thing as “bad words”. Words are just words. It is the intention, motive and context that makes words less kind.

      14
      2
      • Anonymous says:

        I said ” filthy language” you brought up “bad words” what is your point.?

        4
        2
        • Anonymous says:

          If you read my entire comment, you’d get it. Language is made up of words, hence “filthy language” equates to so-called “filthy words”, “bad words” or “curse words”. You string them together in whatever way you wish, you will come up with a concept, idea, intention etc.

          I cannot quite understand how you find this fucking shit difficult? (Not bad intention, yet use of “filthy language”)

          Or are you just completely devoid of average level of intelligence? (Insult, therefore being unkind without using any “filthy word”).

          Is it clear now?

          4
          1
    • Diogenes says:

      Ah the sweet smell of arbitrary moral policing

      12
      3
    • Anonymous says:

      Tell that to Shakespeare.

You can comment anonymously. See CNS Comment Policy at the top of this page.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

See draft amendment to the Constitution in the CNS Library