On January 4, 2021, Alex Weingarten was quoted in the New York Times on a tax dispute between the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Prince’s estate that could prolong the late musician's probate proceedings.
According to the article, Prince died at age 57 in April 2016 from an accidental overdose. While he was known for retaining ownership of much of his work, including his music publishing rights, he left no will. The tax dispute is the latest complication in the estate, which has had a series of problems that have resulted in millions of dollars in fees to lawyers but a delay in payments to Prince’s heirs.
The IRS determined that the estate is worth $163.2 million — about double the $82.3 million claimed by the estate’s administrator. Court filings include a copy of the IRS’s “notice of deficiency,” 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.” The estate’s administrator has requested a trial in St. Paul, Minnesota over the dispute.
Weingarten said that Prince’s case was unusual in that he had made no plan for his estate. But the dispute with the IRS, he said, was not unexpected. “Whenever you’re dealing with estates of any significant size,” Weingarten said, “it’s not uncommon to have valuation disputes with the IRS.”
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