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Michael Jackson’s “Despicable Me 3” Income May Go Straight to the IRS
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VARIOUS, VARIOUS - JUNE 25: Michael Jackson performs at the 12th Annual MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on September 7, 1995. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

Michael Jackson. Photo courtesy of MTV.

Summary: The IRS may take all of Michael Jackson’s earnings from the new movie, Despicable Me 3.

The new movie Despicable Me 3 may be an homage to Michael Jackson, but it could be bad for his estate. A trailer for the minions film references Jackson with mentions of his songs and an inclusion of his famous dance, the Moonwalk. While fans have reason to laugh at the commercial, his family won’t because of money issues. According to The Inquisitr, the late singer’s income from the 2017 animated film may go straight into the pockets of the IRS. This is all due to an ongoing battle between them and the tax man.


The King of Pop died in 2009 at the age of 50. He overdosed on a cocktail of prescription medications, and his doctor was deemed responsible for administering the deadly drugs. At the time of his surprising death, Jackson was bombarded with lawsuits and allegations of child molestation, and his family reported that he was only worth $2,105 because of the scandals. However, the IRS believes that Jackson’s image is worth $435 million and is seeking to recover that amount. The IRS is now involved with an ongoing tax lawsuit with Jackson’s estate, which includes his three children.

The biggest issue in this tax case is how much is Jackson’s image and the rights to it worth. The IRS claims that the value is $435 million. The tax giant concluded that the multi-million dollar amount is based upon his post-death record sales, video games, Cirque du Soleil show based on his music, and merchandise. Even though they announced Jackson was worth $435 million, the IRS is seeking $1 billion. The reason for the billion dollar amount is unclear, but hopefully the trial in February will provide some answers.

In 2009, the IRS originally sought $80 million/a year from the Jackson family in inheritance taxes, but after the posthumous interest in his work, they readjusted their ask. These recent Jackson-related money makers include the film This Is It, which was based on his life, as well as a Sega game called “Moonwalker” that uses his likeness as a character. Additionally, his estate sold some of his music library to Sony for a whopping $750 million, and the IRS was definitely watching.

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The topic of death and taxes is nothing new in the celebrity world. Prince did not have a will, and relatives and people claiming to be his children are fighting for his estate. In 2012, Whitney Houston died and left everything in her empire to her daughter, Bobbi Kristina, who passed away three years later.

But one celebrity who famously lost a large chunk of cash to the IRS was Tony Soprano himself, James Gandolfini. When he died, he only bestowed 20% of his estate to his widow, which opened up the rest of his $70 million fortune to estate taxes.

While Gandolfini’s tax gaffe was easier to understand, Jackson’s case is more complicated, according to The Inquisitr. “Part of the issues that Michael Jackson’s fans might hear about in the February 2017 tax trial is whether “the right to use an image” will be established as a “defined income stream.” In other words, there is some legal debate about the after-death use of a celebrity’s image being taxable in the first place,” the website stated. “Also, unlike physical property or royalties that have an estimated value based on standardized systems, Michael Jackson’s case could help to define in legal terms what the value of a celebrity’s image is worth “based on a fair market value standard.””

Source: The Inquisitr

Do you think the IRS has a right to that much of Jackson’s estate? Let us know in the comments below. 



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