Tax Notes logo

Off the Beaten Tax: Kanye Down on Taxes Again

Posted on Jan. 6, 2023

Kanye West said the IRS put a $75 million hold on four of his accounts because he owes $50 million in taxes.

Speaking on Tim Pool’s Timcast IRL podcast November 28, 2022, West, who legally changed his name to Ye, said a “nice lady” at CohnReznick LLP informed him that morning that “you’re going to have to pay a lot of taxes.”

“And that made me feel like, they’re just waiting, like, ‘We finally got him; we finally can put him in jail,’” West said. “And I was, like, ‘Can I still run for president in jail?’ I found out I could, so I was like, ‘OK, that’s fine, then.’”

West said it took him about six hours to find out the amount of taxes he owed and that he spoke to different CFOs to ask them if he was guilty of tax evasion. He admitted he’s “obviously not the most financially literate person on the planet” and that he was immature when he became famous and had been passed around among various handlers. He elaborated that it’s difficult to handle the amount of money he makes, adding, “It’s like I didn’t even know where to put the money.”

West recently saw a decline in his net worth after companies cut ties with him for making anti-Semitic statements. After being $35 million in debt in 2018, he thanked God for a $68 million tax refund in 2019, and he said of his latest struggles that “God is using me. He is breaking me down, removing all of the ‘richest person,’ all of this, so I can serve him.”

Vanishing Tax Penalty Fee

Lou Ann Bassan of San Francisco was baffled when a $60 filing fee check mailed to the Tax Court with an IRS tax penalty petition was sent back to her completely blank.

“The date’s not there, the payee’s not there, the amount’s not there,” Bassan told ABC News in San Francisco in an October 5, 2022, report. The Tax Court notice sent back with the check informed her that the check had been irradiated, which caused the ink to vanish, the report said.

Bassan said she had never heard of such a thing, likening the irradiation to “something from a sci-fi movie or a spy whodunnit,” Bassan said. The notice said she would have to send another check filled out with a pen resistant to radiation, but she learned that a pack of 100 such pens costs $254. “I’m not going to go buy a special pen just to write one check. I refuse,” she said.

ABC News found that the reason mail sent to the government is irradiated is because of the 2001 anthrax attacks sent through the mail, but the process sometimes causes ink to disappear. The IRS later waived the penalty against Bassan after reconsidering her case, the report said.

Does Exemption Cover Indoor Rappelling?

Footage of drummers suspended from a Texas megachurch’s ceiling as part of a Christmas celebration rehearsal has caused some to question the church’s tax-exempt status.

The clip, posted to TikTok November 26, 2022, shows several men playing drums while floating through the air thanks to harnesses suspended from tracks in the rafters of Prestonwood Baptist Church. The Plano, Texas, church has a capacity of 7,000 people, the Houston Chronicle said in a November 28 report. The church puts on its annual “The Gift of Christmas” show for 14 performances, drawing 75,000 people in total, with ticket prices ranging from $19 to $59, the report said.

Numerous commentators on the TikTok video questioned whether the performance is too extravagant for a tax-exempt organization. One user said, “Yeah we’re gonna have to start taxing some of that lol,” and another said, “Who needs Cirque du Soleil when you can get it for free at church services?”

“At Prestonwood, we believe Jesus deserves our absolute best, especially at Christmas. It’s unfortunate that the perennial American tradition of the church Christmas program now draws hateful ire from some,” the church responded in a statement.

Perry Fires Accountants

Actor and filmmaker Tyler Perry said he fired his accounting team after an IRS audit revealed he had overpaid $9 million in taxes.

The audit went on for three years and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, Perry told an audience at the 2022 Earn Your Leisure conference. “We get to the end of the audit, and the IRS owed me $9 million,” he said.

“All my accountants come running and said, ‘Oh my God, isn’t that great?’ I said, ‘Hell no! How did you miss me paying $9 million?’ Everybody gone. So I had to stop going to H&R Block for my taxes at some point,” Perry said. “In business, it’s OK to make mistakes. It’s to learn. But do learn. Don’t let it keep happening over and over again. That’s how I run my business. Here’s the mistake. Let’s fix it; let’s move forward.”

Subject Areas / Tax Topics
Magazine Citation
Tax Notes Federal, Jan. 9, 2023, p. 294
178 Tax Notes Federal 294 (Jan. 9, 2023)
Institutional Authors
Tax Analysts
Tax Analysts Document Number
DOC 2022-38925
Copy RID