I.R.S. Says Prince’s Estate Worth Twice What Administrators Reported

by 24USATVJan. 5, 2021, 5 a.m. 24
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For almost five years, the estate of Prince has been one of the music industry’s most drawn-out and complex legal thickets, as the star’s heirs aligned in two factions and business conflicts developed over Prince’s storied “vault” of unreleased music.

Now the estate also has a problem with the I.R.S.

In filings with the U.S. Tax Court, it is clear that the estate and the federal government differ greatly on the value of many of Prince’s assets, including real estate, music rights and the value of Prince’s name and likeness. According to the Internal Revenue Service, the estate is worth $163.2 million — about double the $82.3 million claimed by Comerica Bank & Trust, the estate’s administrator.

The court filing includes a copy of the I.R.S.’s “notice of deficiency,” dated June 2020, which said that the estate owes an additional $32.4 million in federal taxes from 2016, as well as a $6.4 million “accuracy-related penalty.” Comerica has requested a trial in St. Paul, Minn., over the dispute.

Prince died at age 57 in April 2016, from an accidental overdose of an opioid painkiller. But while he was known for retaining ownership of much of his work, including his music publishing rights — the copyrights related to his songwriting — he left no will.

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