Michael Jackson: Kinda Screwed Either Way?

Jess Harvell | February 28, 2008 11:30 am

So at this moment MJ’s scrambling to come up with the $24.5 million he owes in order to keep Neverland Ranch, which is currently in danger of being repossessed for Jackson’s slack-assery in keeping up with his monthly payments. But with Jackson’s financial solvency currently a question mark, it might be better if he simply defaults, loses a residence he hasn’t occupied for several years, and lets whoever decides to bid on Neverland at the planned public auction pick up the tab, right? Wrong, unless he wants to become a smooth criminal tax evader.

The reason for this is: Jackson bought Neverland for between $12 million and $14 million back in 1988. If it sells for the full amount owed, $24.5 million, there’s a conceivable difference of $10 million.

According to California law, Jackson would then be taxed on that money as if he’d sold the property and it was income. According to a California state-sponsored Web site, www.ftb.ca.gov, Jackson would be liable for this money. A ballpark figure could be as much as $5 million.

Ouch. Any well-to-do Idolator readers wishing to spare Jackson 240 million dimes (give or take 50 million) should take note that if Jackson fails to pay, the auction is now set for March 19 on “the steps of the Santa Barbara County courthouse” in sunny California. Prospective buyers should bring “cashier’s checks for the amount they want to offer” and several spray bottles of Febreze in the scent of their choice.

Can Michael Jackson Find 11th Hour Help? [Fox 411]