Michael Jackson has been dead for almost seven years, but he is still being taxed because his estate continues to make money from his copyrighted legacy.
Although this is expected, what is a surprise is that the IRS now wants to challenge Michael Jackson’s estate in court over the “value of his image” at his time of death.
This news arrived in the week before Paris Jackson was at the 2017 Grammy’s to accept an award on behalf of her father for his Lifetime Achievement Award.
To open her acceptance, Paris gave a shout out to the protesters at the Dakota Access Pipeline and stated “hashtag NODAPL” to cheers from the Grammy’s audience.
About her father, Michael Jackson, Paris stated the following while accepting his 2017 Grammy.
“A legend once said that a star can never die. It just turns into a smile and melts back into the cosmic music.”
Michael Jackson’s Thriller also went 33X platinum the week after his daughter accepted his lifetime achievement award at the 2017 Grammy’s, according to Forbes.
While Michael Jackson died in 2009 with a tarnished “image” in the media, his copyrighted work and legacy became so successful after death that the situation has caused the IRS to start a legal battle to back tax the “image of Michael Jackson.”
At one time, the back taxes and fees the IRS said it was owed for Michael Jackson’s image was an estimated $1 billion dollars in late 2016. That figure has now been scaled back to an estimated $700 million as of February 2017.
As of early February, the IRS case against Michael Jackson has begun in California courts, and the IRS is using everything they can to explain why Michael Jackson’s “image” is worth more than the estimated $2,105 that was submitted by MJ’s estate in 2009, as previously reported by the Inquisitr.
Also detailed in a news analysis article by the Inquisitr, the IRS are quick to point out that the Cirque du Soleil is using Michael Jackson’s “image” and hologram for their Las Vegas show for their “ONE” presentation.
Adding to this, the IRS also stated in court in February that Michael Jackson’s recent Grammy win was evidence to tax the estate an increased amount for his “image,” according to the Law360 blog.
Hollywood Reporter also reported on February 3 before the trial against Michael Jackson’s estate began that the term the IRS is using in addition to “image” is “intellectual property mashups.”
No matter which term they decide to use, the truth is that the IRS is asking the courts to approve their case in order to set a legal precedent that will allow them to tax other celebrities for something that previously favored celebrities — and not the IRS.
In other words, if the IRS wins this case against Michael Jackson’s estate, it might allow the IRS to take even more money from celebrities before and after their death based on profits made from their image.
Naturally, the IRS is going to focus on a celebrity like Michael Jackson because he is one of the top-earning celebrities that has a high posthumous net worth. For example, Marketplace reported at the end of 2014 that Michael Jackson repeatedly is at the top of the Forbes top-earning dead celebrities lists.
The reason for this posthumous increase of net worth is due to advice from “dead-celebrity lawyers,” accountants, and executors that “bring a cold eye for maximizing revenue” — such as Mark Roesler of CMG Worldwide.
Mark Roesler also stated that the outcome of Michael Jackson’s “intangible assets” at his time of death — which are defined as “copyrights, trademarks [and] the right of publicity, … [and] the right to your name and likeness” — were impossible to forecast and “couldn’t have been anticipated” at the time of Michael Jackson’s death.
The credit for this increase in Michael Jackson’s net worth after his death is thanks to “the executors designated in his will have turned around his finances, generating more than $600 million in earnings.”
The problem the IRS is having with this $2,150 “image” payment from 2009 is that the taxes paid on the estimate on “intangible assets” is a one-time payment, and, looking back, the IRS thinks that this payment should have been higher, according to Bloomberg.
There is also another debate in this current Michael Jackson trial about his estate being millions of dollars in debt at the time of his death — and it is assumed he could not have paid the IRS in 2009 the amount they are currently asking for in 2017, according to Daily Mail.
In addition to having a great deal of net worth increase after his death, being affiliated with the Michael Jackson legacy still promotes those associated with his music career.
For example, Michael Jackson’s song for Free Willy was accompanied by John “JR” Robinson in 1993. According to Broadway World, JR Robinson’s collaboration with Michael Jackson as his drummer for Free Willy is currently being remembered because the drummer is announcing a new upcoming album with Singular Sound.
Michael Jackson’s legacy also continued to produce new music long after his death. For example, Michael Jackson’s released “Love Never Felt So Good” with Justin Timberlake in 2014 after he had been dead for five years.
[Featured Image by Vinnie Zuffante/Hulton Archive/Getty Images]