I.R.S. Accuses Prince’s Estate of Undervaluing Worth by Half

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prince

He may have temporarily changed his name to an unpronounceable glyph mixing the symbols for male and female, but apparently he also could have used this: $.

According to a report in the Star Tribune, the Internal Revenue Service has accused Prince’s estate of undervaluing the late performer’s assets by 50 percent.

When Prince, the sui generis pop, rock, and R&B star, died in 2016 at the age of 57, he did so without a will. The Minneapolis-based Star Tribune newspaper has called the resulting legal entanglements “one of the largest and most complicated probate court proceedings in Minnesota history.” The estate’s administrator, financial giant Comerica Bank & Trust, originally valued Prince’s holdings at $82.3 million. The I.R.S. says the true value is $163.2 million. As such, the estate owes another $32.4 million in federal taxes.

The primary discrepancy concerns Prince’s music publishing and recording interests. An expert quoted by the Star Tribune suggested that valuing a large estate is “way more of an art than a science.”

Prince’s six heirs include a sister and five half-siblings. Prince’s only offspring died shortly after childbirth due to a rare disease called Pfeiffer syndrome. One of the star’s half-brothers died in 2019, prior to the estate settlement, which now could drag out for “several more years.”

In addition to the ever-changing financial winds of the music industry, there are curiosities in Prince’s holdings, like the private ownership of a forklift.

The estate began releasing posthumous work beginning in 2017. This includes the album Originals, consisting of demo recordings of Prince songs that were later recorded by other artists, and Sign o’ the Times (Super Deluxe), a well-received, massive collection including 63 unreleased tracks orbiting his 1987 masterpiece Sign o’ the Times. An official ongoing podcast launched in May 2020, and archival material released via a TikTok partnership began in June.

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