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Aretha Franklin's sons close to a deal to pay off mother's multi-million dollar tax debt

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Aretha Franklin‘s sons are in the process of paying off a multi-million dollar debt the late Queen of Soul accrued with the Internal Revenue Service, The Detroit Free Press reports.

According to the newspaper, Franklin’s estate owed the IRS over $7.8 million in income taxes, interest and penalties that Aretha amassed from 2010 to 2017. The Free Press reports, however, an agreement is in place that should speed up payment of the tax debt and also will result in some money from Aretha’s estate going to her four sons.

According a probate-court petition filed on February 19 in Michigan’s Oakland County, the proposed deal includes an immediate payment of $800,000 from the estate, which continues to dispute the total amount owed.

The newspaper reports that while Franklin’s estate has been appealing the amount that the IRS says it’s owed, the estate has been paying off the debt and the interest, which as of December was down to $4.75 million.

The amount Aretha’s estate owes the IRS will be determined “by agreement or litigation,” according to the new legal filing.

The agreement also proposes how Franklin’s revenue — including music royalties, licensing deals and other income sources — will be meted out once the debt is settled.

The agreement would see 45% of quarterly revenue paid to the IRS balance, 40% put into an escrow account to be used for future taxes on the estate’s earnings and the rest would be used to manage the estate.

The deal also would see Franklin’s four sons — Clarence, Edward, Teddy and Kecalf — each receive $50,000 for the first quarter of 2021, and they would then be given additional quarterly payments.

A judge must approve the deal before it takes effect.

Aretha died of pancreatic cancer at age 76 in 2018.

By Matt Friedlander
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