Michael Jackson Estate Wins Dispute With IRS As Singer’s Likeness Valued At $4 Million At Time Of Death

The “value” of a celebrity’s name and likeness is a tricky and somewhat abstract question that can be extremely contentious when the Internal Revenue Service gets involved. The Michael Jackson estate and the IRS recently settled a noteworthy disagreement. It’s fascinating to see the extremely wide gulf between their respective estimates of exactly how much MJ’s name and likeness were worth at the time of his death. The value, according to the IRS, was $161 million. The Jackson family said the item was only worth $2,105.

It took seven years to reach the decision. but in the end a U.S. Tax Court concluded that Jackson’s name and likeness was worth $4 million at the time of his death.

“The U.S. Tax Court’s careful decision is a decisive win for Michael Jackson’s children. While we disagree with some portions of the decision, we believe it clearly exposes how unreasonable the IRS valuation was and provides a path forward to finally resolve this case in a fair and just manner.”

Kevork Djansezian-Pool/Getty Images

Getty Images/Kevork Djansezian-Pool

“In the last 10 years of his life, he received almost no revenue related to his image and likeness despite being one of the most well-known persons on Earth. All of this is to imply that it is best to be skeptical of any estimates of financial gain from the use of Michael Jackson’s image and likeness.”

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