Business Law

Business Law News 2014, Issue 2

Michael Jackson Tax Case is a Thriller

Robert W. Wood

Robert W. Wood is a tax lawyer with a nationwide practice (www.WoodLLP. com). The author of more than 30 books, including "Taxation of Damage Awards & Settlement Payments" (4th Ed. 2009 with 2012 Supplement,, he can be reached at This discussion is not intended as legal advice, and cannot be relied upon for any purpose without the services of a qualified professional.

Between sex abuse charges1 and contract disputes over promotions and concerts,2 Michael Jackson was no stranger to lawyers while he was alive. Now, even after his death, he is still keeping lawyers busy, producing a healthy stream of income and paying considerable taxes. Despite the size of the checks the IRS is receiving, however, the agency wants more.

Mr. Jackson died unexpectedly on June 25, 2009, at age 50.3 As frequently occurs with top entertainers, the star’s efforts during his lifetime have continued to produce a steady flow of income even after his death. As always, the IRS wants its cut. First, there are income taxes, which are distinct from estate taxes.

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