AceShowbiz - Aretha Franklin left behind a huge debt to the country when she passed away. The late Queen of Soul owes the IRS more than $6.3 million in back taxes from 2012 to 2018 and $1.5 million in penalties, according to legal documents obtained by TMZ.
David Bennett, which represents Aretha's estate, says the estate is being audited by the IRS. "We have a tax attorney. All of her returns have been filed," Bennett tells The Associated Press. "We have disputes with the IRS regarding what they claim was income. We claim its double-dipping income because they don't understand how the business works."
David argues that the singing legend had a lot of expenses whenever she toured. He explains, "She had to pay for transportation, hotel rooms, backup singers, musicians. When she did that the IRS was questioning the returns she filed. We're going through audits. Returns were filed as timely as we could get them filed."
One of Aretha's former lawyers tells TMZ that the massive tax lien is the result of several audits over the last 6 years. David additionally says that Aretha's estate has paid at least $3 million in back taxes to the IRS since Aretha Franklin's death in August. He also claims that the estate has paid money to the state of Michigan and other jurisdictions "where she would have had some income."
Aretha's estate has been dealing with debt claims since her passing in August. Back in October, her lawyer filed legal documents asking the estate to pay nearly $54k to cover bills dating back 6 years. A publishing company additionally claimed that they're owed $136,000 in royalties in connection with the 1973 song "Angel".
Aretha passed away on August 16 after battling pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor, though many reported pancreatic cancer as the cause of death. She was 76.