The tricky issue of valuing the right of publicity came up in the Whitney Houston estate, which recently settled its tax dispute with the IRS. Per the court’s order of Dec. 26, 2017, the estate agreed to pay the government $2.3 million in estate taxes. The IRS initially claimed a deficiency of $11 million. As one observer
of this and similar high-profile estate tax disputes notes, this outcome does not answer the ultimate question: whether the right of publicity is part of the estate and taxable. For a conclusive answer, readers may have to wait until there is a resolution of the ongoing Michael Jackson litigation.
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