You’d Argue with the IRS About This Tax Bill Too!
Determining the value of multi-million dollar estates has never been an easy calculation, but as reported in Billboard’s article, “Whitney Houston Estate Challenges $11 Million Tax Bill,” Whitney Houston’s heirs may be in for a bigger battle than most. They are currently in Tax Court fighting over a significant difference in how the estate is valued. The IRS says that $22.6 million was underreported, while the heirs claim that the IRS numbers are all wrong.
Some of the money that’s owed is from Whitney’s song and performance royalties. There’s also a $9 million dispute over the value of her album catalog.
The Whitney Houston estate claims that the IRS is in error by increasing the value of her publicity rights from $11.5 million to $11.7 million. There’s no indication as to the agency’s rationale for the increase, but it shows that the IRS means business and will continue to pursue money from the name and image of dead stars. A trial is scheduled for next February.
At the same time, another celebrity battle with the IRS is underway. The Michael Jackson estate is in court with a battle over assigning a value to his publicity rights. The IRS had asserted the value of $434 million, while at one point, the King of Pop’s estate claimed it was a mere $2,105. The takeaway from this: major discrepancies will always draw the ire of the IRS!
Reference: Billboard (May 27, 2016) “Whitney Houston Estate Challenges $11 Million Tax Bill”