Sunday, December 31, 2017
Representatives of Michael Jackson’s estate claimed the rights to his name and image were only worth $2,105. They argued that allegations of skin bleaching, child molestation, drug abuse, and an obsession with plastic surgery had driven down the value to almost nothing. The IRS disagreed, claiming Jackson’s image and name should have been valued at closer to $434 million. The IRS sought to rectify the issue by asking U.S. Tax Court Judge Mark Holmes to allow them of offer additional evidence in the case. Fortunately for Jackson’s estate, the IRS failed to adhere to procedural requirements, preventing them from seeking any penalties for understated taxes. In his December 20th order, Holmes asked, “What happens if a party with the burden of production on an issue fails to introduce sufficient evidence at trial to meet that burden?” His terse but accurate reply: “Well, he loses.”
See Edvard Petersson, Michael Jackson Estate May Avoid Penalties in IRS Dispute, Bloomberg, December 28, 2017.
Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.) for bringing this article to my attention.
Special thanks to Joel C. Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.