Aretha Franklin's Estate Pays Off Final $7.8M Debt To IRS — Here's What That Means For Her Sons
Photo Credit: Larry French / Cindy Ord

Aretha Franklin's Estate Pays Off Final $7.8M Debt To IRS — Here's What That Means For Her Sons

The estate of the legendary Aretha Franklin is finally done with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). According to USA Today, the outstanding $7.8 million debt has officially been paid in full.

This is a huge win for Franklin’s four sons who inherited her estate following her passing in 2018. Now, they will be able to reap the benefits from all revenue being brought in from her estate which, per a report, could be millions of dollars.

Access to the affairs of Franklin’s estate has been an uphill battle due to IRS being in the picture. Any money being drawn in from her music, and even recent projects like the “Respect” biopic, was never seen by her children. Instead, it was placed into the hands of the government.

AfroTech has previously reported on how messy things can get once a celebrity has passed and even noted the years-long process it often takes before families can see a dime of the money. Prince, James Brown, and even “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman all had estate issues that needed to be settled before their benefactors could reap the rewards.

Let’s take a look at how the estate of Aretha Franklin can now reap the rewards of the legend’s hard work.

Paying of The Debt

Following Franklin’s death, the IRS filed a motion claiming that the late singer owed roughly $8 million in unpaid taxes, penalties, and interest. They shared that the funds added up over the course of the seven years prior to her passing.

On June 17, the remaining amount owed was paid in full via a cashier’s check, per the court document filed by an attorney for the estate, Reginald Turner.

Paying off Franklin’s estate as quickly as possible was vital because as long as the tax debt continued to sit, the more it would accumulate more money in both interest and tax penalties. In order to pay down the balance, her estate made a deal with the IRS that designated 45 percent of all Aretha Franklin revenue. Taxes on a newly generated income was handled with another 40 percent of the funds being allotted to an escrow account.

Next Steps

Now, that the tax debt has officially been paid off, Franklin’s estate alleges that all new funds are to be shared evenly among all four of her sons. It will now be their responsibility to pay taxes from that point on.