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5 Questionable Tax Tips From the Rich, Powerful and Famous

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- Celebrities usually separate themselves from the rest of society, often retreating behind gated mansions, hiding away in airport VIP lounges and sending their kids to private schools away from the riffraff.

But even the rich and powerful can't escape taxes -- which is not to say celebrities don't have different ways of handling their tax burden, the better to keep more of their wealth in their own satin-lined pockets.

Here are five examples from of how celebrities and the wealthy look to cut corners with their taxes, and how "practicality" is a common trait among the privileged class, just as it is in the middle class:

How Lebron James caught up to Kobe Bryant
King James has two NBA titles in his back pocket as well as a big tax edge over future Hall-of-Famer Kobe Bryant: James lives in Florida, which has no state income tax. So while at first blush his annual salary of $19 million pales to Kobe's $30.5 million, the Laker legend lives in Los Angeles -- and thus is on the hook for a 12.3% state tax. By living in tax-free Florida, James' net income is closer to Kobe's than you think.

The French disconnection
Actor Gerard Depardieu decided not to stand his ground when France raised its tax rate on top earners to 75%. Instead he moved to Russia, which taxes only 13% of his income. Total savings for Depardieu? About $6.2 million annually.

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