Michael Jackson was broke as a joke when he died ... so the IRS tax attack is showing a glaring ignorance ... so claim the people who run the MJ Estate.
Sources connected with the Estate tell TMZ ... they never suggested the Beatles catalog was worth ZERO -- to the contrary they agree it's worth around $1.5 BILLION.
That said ... sources say there's a reason they put a big fat zero in the Beatles column when they filed tax returns just after Michael died. They say there was a $700 million loan taken against the purchase of the catalog, bringing the net value to $800 million. Michael and Sony were 50/50 partners ... which means Michael's share was around $400 million.
Now the debt. Michael leveraged his interest to the hilt -- he borrowed $320 million against the catalog. And He owed another $200 million in personal debt ... And that's why they put ZERO.
One bone of contention -- although the Estate values the catalog at $1.5 billion, the IRS says it's DOUBLE that amount.
Estate sources say the IRS is also off base on the issue of MJ's likeness and image, which they valued at only $2,105 at the time he died. The IRS says it's worth more like $434 million.
Our sources say you have to look back at June, 2009. They say Michael made zilch on his likeness and image for the 15 YEARS before his death -- no commercials, not even T-shirts ... no one wanted to be associated with him -- at least commercially.
And finally ... as for the Jackson 5 music collection -- the Estate says it was worth $11.2 mil when Michael died ... the IRS says $45.5 mil.
So the sources say after settling up with Motown, MJ's interest was a lot less than people think. The Estate would gladly sell Michael's rights even today for $45.5 mil ... they say they'd sell it for $30 mil!
Taxman Was Right
MJ Collection Worth a Fortune!
2/9/2014 7:20 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
The Michael Jackson Estate is insane for trying to value MJ's Beatles collection at ZERO for tax purposes ... so says one of the most prominent Beatles experts in the world ... who also happens to be a tax attorney.
The Estate is in a dogfight with the IRS ... which claims MJs people stiffed the government on more than a half a BILLION dollars in taxes by undervaluing assets ... including MJs interest in songs by MJ and the Beatles. The Estate says the asset is worth NOTHING. The IRS says the Estate should have declared a value of $469 million.
Beatles guru and attorney Bruce Spizer tells TMZ, "No one could value that collection at zero with a straight face." Spizer, who has written 8 books about the group that changed the world 50 years ago tonight on "The Ed Sullivan Show," says the IRS may have "slightly inflated" the value of the catalog, but believes it's definitely worth minimum $300 million and could be as much as $400 million.
Spizer says, "For the Estate to list the value at zero, they lose all credibility."
Reps for the MJ Estate tell TMZ, they dispute the entire IRS analysis of MJs assets. The reps say they used nationally-recognized experts to determine value while the IRS wallows in speculation.
The reps say the Estate paid more than $100 mil in taxes and fully complied with the law.
F**k the Beatles
1/8/2014 8:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Rod Stewart is forever bitter about one of his contemporaries -- maybe the only one that outshined him ... The Beatles ... because he says he "COULDN'T GIVE A F**K" about a Beatles-ish reunion.
It's a little hard to hear the photog because another pap is talking over him. But he asks Rod what he thinks of the Beatles getting back together.
Obviously, the photog is a little behind on not-so-current events ... but Paul and Ringo might perform together on 'Letterman' next month to mark the 50th anniversary of the Beatles Ed Sullivan debut.
Unclear why Rod has beef. He's outlived half the group.
Billy Bob Thornton
The GREATEST BAND
of All Time Is ...
7/26/2013 7:15 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
... the Beatles. Duh.
BUT ... Billy Bob Thornton says if he HAD to name the greatest band of all time -- but couldn't pick the Fab 4 -- he knows exactly which group he would pick.
Hint: BBT's (second) favorite band was huuuge in the '70s ... but never scored a #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 list. They did have a #2 ... with the word "Man" in the title.
Second Hint: The group was founded (and named after) two brothers.
Now guess ... and then watch the video.
Paul, Ringo, and Walsh
Rock Gods Unite!
4/21/2013 5:25 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Former Beatles bandmates Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr dined together for the second time in just a matter of days ... and this time they brought along guitar legend Joe Walsh.
The three music legends hit up Mr. Chow in Beverly Hills last night, just days after Ringo and Paul dined at Cecconi's.
Despite being the last two Beatles alive, Ringo and Paul haven't always had a great relationship, with Ringo once saying, "We’re the only two remaining Beatles, although he likes to think he’s the only one."
Let's hope these recent meals are the sign of an on-stage reunion in the near future.
There's ONE Beatle I
Haven't Smoked With ...
3/24/2013 6:30 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Weed master Tommy Chong has smoked out his fair share of celebs, so when we asked him who is the ONE famous person he's dying to get high with ... it's no surprise he named the one Beatle he hasn't smoked with.
Chong was out walking his dog Saturday in L.A. and took the time to discuss a slew of topics with our photog: getting high with his cat ... the potency of edibles (they are very, very potent). You get the idea.
But before you watch the clip, try and guess which one in our poll.
Seriously no cheating. Guess.
Olympic Rifle Woman
Takes Aim at Beatles Cover
8/9/2012 12:15 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Why did the sexy Olympic rifle shooter cross the road? TO REENACT THE MOST FAMOUS BEATLES PHOTO OF ALL TIME.
The gorgeous rifle-shooting 21-year-old deadeye Amanda Furrer struck a pose on the world-renowned Abbey Road yesterday in honor of the famed Beatles photograph -- which was snapped exactly 43 years ago ... on August 8th, 1969.
Furrer – who placed 15th for U.S.A. in the women’s 50m rifle competition – took the pic during a little sightseeing excursion from the athletes' village ... IN HEELS.
She's so heavy.
Paul McCartney is ENGAGED ... Again!
5/6/2011 8:50 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
It's 2011 ... and one of the Beatles is getting married!!! Sir Paul McCartney is officially engaged to girlfriend Nancy Shevell.
According to People.com -- the 68-year-old former Beatle popped the question to 51-year old Shevell -- a businesswoman from Jersey.
The couple has been dating since they met in the Hamptons in 2007. This will be the third marriage for McCartney and the second for Shevell.
All you need is love.
Pete Best of the Beatles
7/12/2010 2:42 PM PDT BY Johnny Lopez
Before Ringo Starr joined the Fab Four in 1962, Pete Best was the original drummer in the Beatles. Guess what he looks like now!
or Good Docs?
7/11/2010 4:00 AM PDT BY Johnny Lopez
Former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr really is one of the fab four.
Here's the 24-year-old in London back in 1964 (left) -- and 46 years later, the 70-year-old version at a concert in NYC on Wednesday (right).
Let it be.
Lewis and Clarkson:
Who Will and WON'T Perform Tonight
5/23/2007 3:57 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Kelly Clarkson may be feuding with her label head Clive Davis, but she's got nothing but love for "American Idol."
TMZ has learned that Kelly -- and all winners from seasons past, except Fantasia -- will be back performing on the "American Idol" stage for tonight's finale.
Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Carrie Underwood and Taylor Hicks are headed to the Kodak Theater, but Fantasia Barrino won't be, since she is headlining Oprah Winfrey's production of "The Color Purple" on Broadway.
Sources tell TMZ Gladys Knight will perform "Midnight Train to Georgia" with the top six female finalists, while Smokey Robinson will join the top six male finalists for a rendition of "Ooh Baby Baby." Most recently booted finalist Melinda Doolittle will sing with brother and sister gospel duo BeBe and CeCe Winans, while the hairiffic Sanjaya duets with Aerosmith's Joe Perry to the Kinks' "You Really Got Me." It's sure to be an unbeweavable night!
Beat-boxing finalist Blake Lewis will show off his mad skillz against rapper Doug E. Fresh, and then duet with fellow finalist and probable winner, Jordin Sparks, to the Beatles' "I Saw Her Standing There." Since producers were able to finally get clearance to use Beatles music, a medley of Fab Four hits will be performed as well.
Luckily, we're told no one is expected to be exhumed a la Elvis on tonight's finale!
UPDATE: A well-placed source tells TMZ that anti-establishment rockers Green Day sold out and will be on the "American Idiot" "Idol" finale too!