“What Is Michael Jackson’s Name Worth?”

by Walter Olson on November 17, 2013

“Estate Says $2,105, IRS Says $434,000,000.” [TaxProf]

{ 9 comments }

1 gasman 11.17.13 at 5:12 pm

After the back and forth between the estate and the IRS, perhaps it is time for the family to demonstrate good faith estimate of the value of the name Michael Jackson and associated marketing rights, and sell it for $2105.
Just so that no one can accuse me of taking advantage, I’ll even go as high as $2500. That should help them feel good about maximizing their return, but not so much over that they run afoul of the IRS.

2 great unknown 11.17.13 at 6:26 pm

Apply Heinlein’s method of self-declared property value. Anybody can buy the property for the declared value + 50%. I will gladly pay $3,000 for the rights to the name.

3 Boblipton 11.17.13 at 9:01 pm

I’ll go as high as five grand not to have to hear it again.

Bob

4 Jazzizhep 11.17.13 at 9:13 pm

Considering I know only slightly more about tax law than 14th century Slavic dances, it seems to me the problem is inheritance taxes. The IRS wants to tax what something might be worth if utilized.

I know you guys were only making a funny, but I seriously doubt it is even possible for the Jackson family to sell the rights for that price. If it were, they could sell it under a contract that states the buyer must resale the rights in six months for an agreed upon price. I would love to see the Kafkaesque rules that prevent an individual from selling an asset for what they want, or at least being taxed by what the IRS said they should have sold it.

5 jff 11.18.13 at 5:26 am

i´d pay the estate even 200% of what theyre allegedly sayin, so cmon ship it! 8)

6 bobo 11.18.13 at 7:54 am

the valuation relates to the value of Jackson’s name and likeness when he died, not now.
It was in the MJ Estate’s interest to downplay the value of Michael jackson’s death at the time he died. BUT there are problems with that that should have been apparent even before he died.
The year before he died he released Sony Music’s biggest selling album of 2008 (globally speaking) – ‘Thriller 25′.
The year he died he set record ticket sales at the O2 arena in London with sell out dates and enough people in the queue system to sell another 50 (according to AEG Live).

Now if those two don’t equate to a value of more than $2,105 then I don’t know what does.

7 Bill Alexander 11.18.13 at 10:12 am

bobo, obviously it is worth more than $2105. We have an auction going here that has already hit $4210. Could even get up to $5000 or so.

8 dragon mom 11.18.13 at 3:33 pm

Not enough and do not sell it off-there are a great many new little Michael Jackson recently born. Its their name too.

9 Death and Taxes 11.19.13 at 11:07 am

Jazzizhep – the Kafkaesque rules are as follows: the value for the estate tax return is the value to which a willing seller and a willing buyer would agree. Assume neither side is under a compulsion to sell. So the IRS will ding you if you arrange a sham sale in order to depress the value of the asset.

A sham sale to a third party with an agreement to return the asset to the original seller is fraud.

Now if the estate had been wise and had tied up the rights to his name and likeness in a Family Limited Partnership and distributed fractional interests to his children during his life, then we’d be talking some serious discounting – but the estate tax game is a topic ripe for Overlawyered.

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