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Webinar: Death and Taxes: Even Celebrities Can’t Avoid Them. An Analysis of the Michael J. Jackson Estate Tax Ruling
November 2, 2021 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
1 Legal Specialization in Estate Planning; Trust & Probate Law
1 Participatory MCLE Credits
Michael Jackson may still be the most recognizable celebrity on a worldwide scale and is now also known as the world’s highest paid dead celebrity. Despite his status, estate taxes had to be paid upon his death. To do so, his Estate had to value all of his assets as of his date of death, which was two weeks prior his spectacularly produced memorial — the first of many monumental efforts of the Estate’s management team to rehabilitate Jackson’s soiled reputation and monetize assets for his beneficiaries.
The Internal Revenue Service (“I.R.S.”) took the position that the Estate undervalued Jackson’s assets by $1,100,000,000 on the Estate Tax Return and assessed penalties. But, just before his death, Jackson had been on the verge of bankruptcy and paying such taxes would have been near impossible for the Estate.
An epic tax battle ensued, ending with a 271-page Tax Court memo 2021-48 filed on May 3, 2021 (the “Decision”) by Judge Mark Holmes. This article provides a practical analysis of the steps and missteps of the Estate and the I.R.S. in valuing Jackson’s intellectual property assets and offers practical considerations that may be useful to any estate holding intellectual property rights, particularly copyrights of musical compositions and rights of publicity.
CLA Members: $55