Tyler Perry almost had a close call with the IRS that could have short-changed him by $9 million.

During the 2022 Earn Your Leisure Conference, Perry revealed his inadequacy when it comes to taxes, which had him in several financial pickles.

“Money isn’t something that I had, and nobody taught me that taxes had to be paid,” Perry said, according to Finurah. “I didn’t go to college, but I paid for Harvard many times over in the mistakes that I made.”

Although Perry acknowledges taxes are a grey area, he knew the importance of ensuring taxes need to comply with a certain standard, especially with the dollars he is raking in through his growing media empire.

Hired auditors to meet compliance: So, Perry rightfully hired accountants for audits to ensure his financial statements were in compliance with the federal agency’s requests.

Red flags: There were some red flags Perry noted early on, such as an accountant who seemed suspiciously curious about how Perry was managing his finances. Perry deemed the behavior inappropriate. So, he later dismissed the auditor from the case and the agency hired a replacement.

Auditing process took three years: What’s more, Perry reveals the auditing process took three years, and “hundreds of thousands of dollars” went down the drain.

“So this audit went on for three years,” Perry said. “I’m spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in accounting with accountants for the audit and I am getting so mad, and so frustrated. ‘Why the hell is this going on?’ ‘What is it?’ And what I realized in my frustration is that ‘Wait a minute, there’s something to learn here.’ ‘Sit back and just see where it goes.'”

“We get to the end of the audit and the IRS owed me $9 million. They owed me $9 million,” Perry said in disbelief.

He continued: “All my accountants come running, [and] said ‘Oh my God, isn’t that great?’ ‘Isn’t that great?’  I say, ‘No, hell no!’ ‘How did you miss me paying $9 million?’ So, I had to stop going to H&R Block for my taxes at some point.”


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Teachable moment: Finurah reports the accountants were eventually fired for the costly mistake, but Perry still found a silver lining to turn the situation into a teachable moment.

Perry on finding a silver lining: “I learned in progress, and it’s okay. Listen in business, it’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to learn, to have to learn, but do learn. Don’t let it keep happening over and over again. And that’s one thing about me. I’ll let you make a million mistakes, but you can’t do the same thing over and over again. And that’s how I run my business,” Perry explained.

Did you know Tyler Perry's life has been turned into a college course?

Here’s what we know about the Black woman professor who created it.