(Photo : (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images))
It has already been seven years since his death, but talks about Michael Jackson has still not winded down. To add, bewildering legal matters between the late artist and the Internal Revenue Services has continued to surface, especially online.
On 2009, a documentary about Michael Jackson was released. It was called This Is It and grossed $261 million. It is a Cirque du Soleil tribute that gathered fans from all over the world. Aside from this, albums, video games, and other memorabilia were also made.
This has pushed the IRS to ask for its share from all the profits of all these memorabilia and tributes, claiming Jackson's value upon death totalled to at least $434 million and not just $2,105 declared by the estate.
According to Billboard, "With interest and penalties, lawyers estimate the case -- set for trial at a Los Angeles tax tribunal in 2017 -- could be worth more than $1 billion. Some tax specialists even wonder if it could lead to criminal tax evasion charges. The outcome could impact celebrity estate planning."
Attorney and tax specialist Gary Wolf even claimed that Jackson's case could become the biggest estate tax case yet.
Given that, it might be surprising to learn the Jackson reps have little idea about what to expect in the case. Speaking publicly about the IRS battle for the first time,
Meanwhile, Howard Weitzman, the estate's lead attorney, said that the IRS and the estate have not exchanged much information with regard to the case. To add, Weitzman said that IRS has not really explained how its independent auditor ended up with the huge valuation.
Weitzman furthermore believes that the "Thriller" singer did not make more than $50 million when he was alive. "It seems preposterous that the IRS would arrive at a value 10 times this amount," he says. "This is bizarre."
The IRS declined to comment. However, Weitzman believes that if the IRS wins, "it likely will pursue other celebrity estates that have increased in value."
As DjBooth stated in its article, "while legal battles often seem deathly boring on the surface, especially when it comes to taxes, the courts are often our only firm insight into the value of music in an industry essentially built on smoke and mirrors, where rappers post with fake stacks of cash, Kanye West says he's $50 million in debt while living in a lavish mansion and major record labels do their best to screw artists out of every penny."