EA founder owes IRS $20m

Trip Hawkins is in hot water.

Industry veteran and EA founder Trip Hawkins owes the IRS $20 million in unpaid taxes, a US judge has ruled.

According to a Forbes report, US District Court Judge Jeffrey White has rejected Hawkins attempt to dodge back taxes owed on the huge wealth he accrued from founding Electronic Arts by declaring personal bankruptcy.

White upheld a previous ruling stating that Hawkins had been spending huge sums of money despite the fact that he was knowingly insolvent. Evidence cited included his recent purchase of a $70,000 car, which is allegedly the fourth vehicle in a two-driver household.

"Hawkins planned to defeat his taxes via bankruptcy and continue living the lifestyle to which he had grown accustomed," the judge declared.

He and his wife had declared bankruptcy in 2006, effectively wiping out their tax debts. However, the IRS and the California Franchise Tax Board then invoked a provision of bankruptcy law that prohibits discharge of tax debts if the debtor "willfully attempted in any manner to evade or defeat such tax."

During that original ruling, it was claimed that Hawkins' monthly expenditure in 2005 totaled $94,900, including $4,500 for "child/dependent care" even though his wife was supposedly a stay-at-home mum.

Hawkins left his role as Apple's marketing strategy director to found EA back in 1982. In the mid-'90s he headed up the doomed 3DO project, then set up social games publisher Digital Chocolate when it went bust in 2003.

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